Does Downtown Boise Have a Burrito Problem?

Downtown Boise might have a burrito problem. This problem has lingered on my mind since Pollo Rey—a reliable, if unspectacular, supplier of burritos—shut its doors last year.

There are plenty of impressive burritos across the treasure valley, but our thriving city center seems bereft of truly legitimate burritos—the type you can grab with two hands and attack.

Now it is possible that you are laughing at me because four new tacos places have arrived in downtown Boise in the past month. But one of those taco places, the still under renovation Diablo and Sons, is primarily a bar…

…and more importantly, tacos are not burritos. This should be clear to everyone. There are some slimy lawyer types out there who will argue that burritos and tacos are the same thing, and exist together on a ‘meat in tortilla’ continuum. Do not listen to those half-wits. They probably think hot dogs are sandwiches.

A burrito is an entirely different animal, closed on at least one end, hefty, brimming with beans. I am skeptical that, even amid our urban taco revolution, we are really offering solutions for urban burrito lovers. They have needs too.

But my complaints are anecdotal, and I am a man of substance. It’s time to get nitty-gritty.

I did a deep dive into the Yelp listings for “Burrito” to figure out how many legitimate burritos exist in downtown Boise. (For the purposes of this study, downtown is a parallelogram with vertices on State and 15th, Fort Boise, Broadway and Myrtle, and Anne Morrison Park.)

Let’s go:

1. Westos Locos 

It’s a bad sign that the first burrito on our list belongs to a food cart that is only open from 4:00 pm to 3:00 am on weekends. I haven’t personally enjoyed this stand, and it very well may be delicious, but it can’t be a legit burrito if you’re only open for 16 hours a week.

Running total of legit burritos: 0

2. The Funky Taco 

This new establishment has impeccable interior design, one part taco truck and one part modern art museum. I haven’t eaten here either, but the menu only lists a single burrito—one that is smothered in peanut mole—on the very bottom of the menu alongside a chicken tikka masala entrée. It is not clear that burritos are a priority.

Running total of legit burritos: 0

3. Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill

Look, I love a pork “burrito” at Costa Vida as much as the next man. It is smothered in sauce and sweeter than a dum-dum. But this place serves “burritos” just like your Cabo loving friend visits “Mexico”.

Running total of legit burritos: 0

4. El Gallo Giro 

I’ve always liked the vibe, but this place is sorta meh. If you want the sit-down, melty cheese, and complimentary bean dip Mexican experience, save a few bucks on parking and hit up La Tapatia on Parkcenter.

Running total of legit burritos: 0

5. The Matador 

I’m a fan, but the only burritos you get here come with a fork, and the vibe is upscale. (The al pastor enchiladas, however, are righteous.)

Running total of legit burritos: 0

6. Tin Roof Tacos 

Literally all they serve is tacos. It’s in the name.

Running total of legit burritos: STILL 0

7. Calle 75 Downtown

Finally a place with three actual burritos on the menu. Sadly I have not sampled them yet. The tacos at Calle are flat out dope, so I am optimistic that this is our first legit burrito.

Running total of legit burritos: 1!

8. Chipotle Mexican Grill

I’m sure I’ll have to defend this hot take later, but Chipotle is the most overrated place in the history of places. It’s a legit burrito, but BARELY.

Running total of legit burritos: 1.9

9. Madre

Brand new and just on the edge of downtown, this restaurant is solely focused on tacos. Alas.

Running total of legit burritos: 1.9

10. Azteca Taco Truck

Azteca’s potato, cheese and black bean burrito is downright devilish, a legit burrito if I ever saw one. This place has lunch hours so it stands as a cut above Westos Locos. But again, a taco truck is a volatile source of burritos. You never know where it might be.

Running total of legit burritos: 2.9


What can we conclude from this brief survey? I feel more confident than ever in my assertion that downtown burritos are falling short. It is worth noting that I have yet to sample the fare at a few of these establishments. The Co-Op must also be recognized for churning out admirable burritos just a few blocks to the north of downtown proper.

It’s not enough. The taco is a beautiful food. But it isn’t a burrito. I pray that downtown restaurateurs realize this soon.

Don’t agree? Hit me up on twitter or in the comment section, and let’s hash this out.

Image credit: The Funky Taco Boise

One thought on “Does Downtown Boise Have a Burrito Problem?

  1. James

    I totally agree where is the best burrito.Why eat 8 tacos to satisfy your hunger.While the whole time you could have just eaten one burrito.I think it’s appearance of gluttony with one burrito the size of a small child that frightens people’s perception of the burrito.Time management is why the burrito stands out above the taco .Why eat 8 individual tacos ,while you could eat only ONE efficient burrito.!


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