Every town has a legendary restaurant. It’s the place where every visitor aspires to stop, whether staying in town or just passing through. Many travelers devote entire trips to the discovery of such legendary establishments. Fort Collins has one such place. It’s simple and beautiful and called Big City Burrito.
The restaurant’s creators came to Colorado in 1994 and brought what they call the “California style.” Their burritos are big, self-contained and require no utensils. As far as I know, the restaurant doesn’t even own any plates.
The eatery is across from the Colorado State University campus and, with a monster like the gutbuster, the Big City Burrito menu definitely caters to the college crowd. The waiting line, however, is regularly filled with all walks of life, from students to soccer moms, and usually snakes out the door.
Some people refer to the place as a “hole in the wall.” Those of us longtime patrons remember back some years when the wall literally had a hole in it, but that’s all part of its charm.
The hole has since been fixed but the overall feel of Big City Burrito hasn’t changed. It remains a shining star in a sea of Qdobas and Chipotles and truly embodies the spirit of Fort Collins.
The best thing about Big City is that everything is made in house with fresh ingredients. The restaurant is proud of the fact that it doesn’t own a freezer or microwave. The menu is full of classic Mexican flavors such as carnitas, carne asada and mole, but what Big City is famous for is its vegetarian potato burrito, which can also be made vegan.
The salsas are delicious, as well, ranging from pico de gallo, chipotle corn, jalapeno, tomatillo and the specialty house hot salsa. I like to mix and match.
If that’s not enough spice for you, every Big City location packs more than 50 varieties of hot sauce. The hot sauce is worth browsing for entertainment purposes alone. My favorite is the Banana Heat Wave. It has a sweet, spicy taste and a bottle featuring a surfing banana.
Burritos come in three sizes – the regular, the super and, if you really have something to prove, the gutbuster. Also available on the Big City Burrito menu are tacos, quesadillas and “build your own” plates.
Big City Burritos exist in several states, but if you want the genuine, original experience, as the owners intended it, you must visit the Fort Collins location at 510 S. College Ave. Trust me, I’ve been to some of these other stores sporting the Big City sign, but they just aren’t the same. These guys in the Fort Collins branch have been properly trained by the gurus themselves and serve up the burritos the way they should be: fast, fresh and sloppy.
So next time you’re up north and looking for a legend, stop by Big City and find out what a real burrito is all about.
If You Go
Mike Herbener is a documentary filmmaker in Boulder, Colorado. He has a passion for travel and adventure and finds plenty of it while exploring his home state. Find out what Mike is doing now at www.mikedigitalmedia.com.