You can't call yourself a true Durango local until you’ve decided on a “favorite” from Zia Taqauria.
It took me years to hone in on the best menu item for me--a burrito--and then longer to concoct just the right fillings for my individual taste. So, when I heard that my most frequented Zia location on the north end of town was going to close down and move to a different location, my heart nearly stopped. I suddenly had a fear that all those years of trying, tasting and perfecting my dream meal, though not wasted, would surely be put to bed once the location changed. Because when one thing changes everything changes, right?
No, actually, wrong. I was proven horribly wrong this week when I went into the new North Zia location just one block south of the old. The building, which just opened at the beginning of September is noticeably bigger and nicer and when I stepped inside it felt like home. The general layout is still buffet style ordering staffed with friendly faces.
The most noticeable difference was that there was more seating with greater space between tables, more artwork from local, southwest and bike-vibe artists, more natural light and, here’s the best part; there is an upstairs bar and an outdoor patio that is beautifully strung with lights and oodles of ambiance.
When I got in line to get my “usual favorite” I wasn’t greeted with new or strange people. Nope, the faces were familiar and still so friendly. Everyone smiled so big even under their protective face coverings--It felt like coming back home. I felt safe inside with their COVID-19 measures and learned that each table is spaced 6 feet apart and the new building has a HVAC air system that creates continuous positive pressure which minimizes spread of airborne disease such as COVID.
When I sat down to eat I felt comfortable and right at home, but there was still the issue of my burrito. My “favorite” Zia burrito with all the regular fillings sat in front of me. Would it change with the building’s location? Would it be different? If it was in any way, I didn’t notice because wow!!! Same amazing burrito that I fell in love with years ago, maybe even more in love; fresh and FULL of flavors that sent my eyes rolling backwards. It is amazing what kind of difference local ingredients sourced from area farms and ranches can do to food. And when processed close to home or in house (like the chips are), everything keeps it’s complex flavors and nutritional values too.
I had to cheers to that and so decided to grab a beverage on my way out. I generally go with non-alcoholic beverages and when I saw the new offerings I almost cried: an extensive Zuberfizz fountain with Tailwind recovery drink, Skagua, Zuberfizz sparkling water, and Zuberfizz soda. But this day called for something a little more spicy to celebrate: a jalapeno margarita perhaps? Or one of their other four flavors of batched cocktails: basic margarita, Prickly Pear margarita or a Jerocho (fresh cucumber, Zuberfizz lemonade, basil, vodka). I couldn’t decide so I just grabbed one and told myself I would just keep returning to hone in on my new local Zia favorite.