Burritos are to Fort Collins like maize was to the early Native Americans. It’s a staple food here and everyone is looking for the best place to grab one. Is it the fact that we live in a college town? It is just a regional thing? What is it with Fort Collins and burritos? I don’t know. All I know is that I like to eat them.
If there’s ever a debate about food here in Fort Collins, it’s about two things and one of them is where to get the best burrito in town. I’ve had burritos from all over and we always come back and crave the same place. Big City Burrito.
Now, I know. Many of you might be thinking, “Seriously? Big City?” and the answer is yes. Big City Burrito has what I dare to claim as the Best Burritos in Fort Collins. Apparently the students at CSU agree with me and Sports Illustrated college edition has also listed them as a noted place to visit.
A locally owned shop and the first store to start it all, Big City opened their doors in July 1994 to hungry people willing to wait in rain or shine with a line wrapping around the corner for their burritos. Since then they’ve branched out into a small franchise opening eight other stores in Colorado as well as going as far as Hawaii and Nebraska.
They have some of the most savory ingredients that make your mouth instantly water at the thought, much like Pavlov’s dogs. They brought the mission-style burrito to the front range; a choice of different flavorful tortillas, rice, beans, a variety of meats and salsas. And they stuff as much food in there as possible while they’re at it, all wrapped up tightly in foil and a handy plastic bag. These burritos are no joke.
Everyone has their own personal favorite burrito and some of the combinations are endless, especially considering the huge collection of hot sauces available on display by the front door. My personal favorites? For breakfast I love a wheat tortilla with eggs, potatoes, carne asada and pico de gallo. It’s a simple burrito that packs a peppery, juicy punch.
For lunch, I almost always get a wheat or spinach tortilla with rice, black beans, chicken bay leaf, pico de gallo and guacamole. OH SO GOOD. I’ve tried to make the chicken bay leaf at home and I can never get it to taste the same. There must be some secret ingredients in there.
My husband is a die hard fan of the jalapeno tortilla with jack cheese, half carne asada, half bacon, egg, potato, tomatillo, ranch and strawberry habenero sauce. He gets the same thing for lunch minus the egg and bacon. It’s a well-seasoned flavor, a little smokey, a little sweet from the strawberry and a bit of a spicy kick that’s softly mellowed from the creamy ranch to make sure the feisty habanero doesn’t get out of control.
It’s a good thing these burritos are wrapped up tight in foil complete with a drip control plastic bag because these monsters can get messy. But I like messy. In fact, the best bites of the burrito are the end where all of the juices and flavors collect. Wow, I’m drooling just writing about it.
You really aren’t going to get anything like this at the big-named corporate Tex-Mex burrito places like Qdoba or Chipotle. A down-side to Big City? You’re not going to get the clean updated eating atmosphere as a corporation either. Big City truly is a hole in the wall; small, hot and a bit grimy, but they always seem to do well during health inspections.
Big City Burrito has been a Fort Collins favorite for many years and I have a feeling that it will continue to be for quite some time.
Big City Burrito
510 South College
Kid-friendly? They do have a high chair (one) and a kids’ menu
Parking: This is a huge pain. There’s not much in front, and a small lot in the back. I hope you don’t have a big car!
Healthy options? Portion sizes are going to be the biggest problem here. Eat half and limit the cheese and creamy sauces (ranch, cheese, etc) and you won’t do too much damage. They are also working on getting nutritional information up on their web page. Don’t be surprised with 1,000 calorie burritos!
Budget-friendly? Considering you get essentially two meals for under $10? Yes.
Recent health inspection: Good