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Get in on the secret – this new taco pop-up is making waves in the Columbus food scene

Get in on the secret – this new taco pop-up is making waves in the Columbus food scene

Sav McKee

You don’t need to book a flight to Mexico City to experience their incredible culinary culture (although I highly recommend doing so) – fortunately, a taste of CDMX is right here in Columbus, thanks to a dynamic, new(ish) pop-up that’s disrupting the brick & mortar food scene.

“We’re not creating anything new, but we’re providing a different experience for people here in Columbus,” said Karma Masri, co-owner of Casa Karmelitas. 

Casa Karmelitas serves home-made tacos, pozole, and street corn to the Columbus community almost every Sunday. Notably, they make their dishes right in front of the customers, staying true to their Mexican roots. 

Karma, originally from Mexico City, grew up savoring street food at every corner. “I’ve been passionate about the restaurant industry ever since,” she said. “My business partner, Angie Martinez, also grew up in Mexico, and most of our food came from the street…the easiest thing for us to eat was street food from vendors. It’s part of my culture. There are no food trucks – you watch the people make the food right in front of you. You talk to the person, you watch how they make it, you take in all the smells – you’re fully immersed in the experience.”

Photo via Casa Karmelitas’ Instagram

Karma and Angie aim to recreate and encompass that immersive experience of buying and eating street food, but right here in Columbus.

While most in the restaurant industry dream of a brick & mortar or food truck, Karma is all about providing a food vendor experience instead. “You approach the food vendor, the scene, really, and you’re immersed in all 5 senses – you first hear the cooking, then you smell it, then you see it, then touch it, and finally, you eat it. You’re immersed in someone’s very personal cooking. You’re seeing the passion that goes into the food they’re selling,” Karma emphasized. 


When you encounter a Casa Karmelitas pop-up, you’re almost transported to the heart of Mexico City. With hand-crafted masa tortillas grilled to order, meats stewing, and sauces simmering, this no-frills setup is genuinely authentic. There’s no truck or kitchen to hide behind. You’re exposed to Karma and Angie’s passion up close and intimately. “We’re cooking right in front of you. This is as traditional to Mexico City as you could get,” reminded Karma.

Although some may lament that they can only enjoy these exceptional tacos on Sundays and special pop-ups, Karma said this is intentional. “It’s typical in Mexico City to see pop-ups that are only one day a week – someone will only come to the markets on Saturdays or Sundays and sell their food on a specific day,” she explained. This approach builds anticipation.

Casa Karmelitas offers clean, simple, yet flavorful proteins stuffed into gluten-free tortillas, accompanied by refried beans, fresh herbs, and pickled onions on top. Vegan options are also available, such as the potato, poblano, and grilled onion taco. Don’t forget to try the pozole, which is a hearty, broth-based, traditional Mexican soup, and the classic Mexican street-corn, served with traditional Mexican herbs and onions, tossed with mayo, cheese, and chili, all in a cup. Wash it all down with a bottle of Jarritos.

Although Karma loves and misses her home in Mexico City, after being in Columbus for the past 13 years, she’s developed an affinity for Ohio’s Capital City, too, and we’re fortunate to have someone like her here, bringing new experiences and a taste of a different culture to the city. 

If you’re interested in delving right into Columbus’ underground culinary scene, you can find Casa Karmelitas on most Sundays at Lookout Supply on 3440 W. Broad St. from 12-4. This weekend though, instead of their traditional Sunday offerings, they’ll be at Lookout Supply from 6-11pm at their Halloween Bash. Lookout Supply, a hub for artists, has played a pivotal role in enabling Casa Karmelitas and other cool pop-ups in the city to share their culinary passion. “It’s kind of an underground thing – and to us, it’s very dear and special,” she said.

To stay updated on future pop-ups, or even book a catering event, follow and reach out to Casa Karmelitas on Instagram.

Want to read more? Check out our print publications, (614) Magazine and Stock & Barrel. Learn where you can find free copies of our newest issues here!


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