The burrito is always a delicious choice for breakfast and lunch in Denver.
The burrito, like the hamburger, is one of those simple dishes that became a cultural icon in America. The humble ingredients of tortilla, beans, cheese and meat have endeared themselves to millions of people who turn to the hand-held wonder for a delicious, affordable, convenient meal time and again.
Long before the burrito as we know it came along, native people in Mexico were wrapping tortillas around meat and various fillings. Native Americans living in the Southwestern United States also made tortillas with fillings such as beans and meat. The exact origin of the modern burrito is unknown, but there is a folk legend that says during the time of the Mexican Revolution, a man named Juan Mèndez traveled around on a donkey selling food in the city of Juárez. Burrito translated means little donkey and the filled, rolled tortillas he sold were named after his method of transportation.
In 1923 a man named Alejandro Borquez opened the Sonora Café in Los Angeles. He later changed the name to El Cholo Spanish Café and it was at this restaurant in the 1930’s that burritos first appeared on a menu in the United States. Several major types have evolved since then. Perhaps the most well known is the Mission style burrito that came from San Francisco. This popular version is filled with seasoned rice, meat, beans, salsa, sour cream, cheese and guacamole and is the cornerstone item of the major burrito chains operating in the country today. The Mission style burrito started to appear in the taquerias in the namesake district of San Francisco in the 1960’s and 70’s. Febronio Ontiveros of the corner grocery store called El Faro claims to be the first person to offer a retail burrito in 1961. Since then, the popularity of the dish has grown to become a major industry.
Other burrito styles include the San Diego version, which is much simpler in its use of just meat, cheese and salsa. The city of San Diego also bore the California burrito, which features French fries rolled inside along with meat, cheese and salsa. The breakfast burrito, filled with potatoes and scrambled eggs, became popular in New Mexican, Southwestern and Tex-Mex cuisine and has grown into a category of its own. In Denver burritos of all types are a very popular choice, often served with green chile, another regional favorite.