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The History Of Burritos You Might Not Know

Thursday, August 9th, 2018
chicken or beef burrito with cheese

Burritos are a popular Tex-Mex dish across the United States, with almost any choice available including breakfast and dinner options. You can order burritos with a variety of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and other fillings, and you can also top it with sauces or salsas. You may love burritos, but do you know their history? The following describes the uncertain process of naming this food as well as its movement in the United States.

How burritos got their name

Many people do not know that the word burrito translates as “little donkey” from Spanish. There are accepted origins of the name, but little evidence to prove any of them true. A commonly accepted story is that a man from from Chihuahua, Mexico named Juan Mendez would sell food in cart pulled by a donkey. It is said that he kept the food warm by wrapping it with flour tortillas. His food quickly became popular because of the convenience of holding and eating it, especially during the Mexican Revolution.

Although this sounds like an interesting story, it is most likely untrue. An entry in the Diccionario de Mexicanismos from 1895 describes the burrito as we know it today and also compares it to a taco. This food was extremely popular in Guanajuato, so many assume this is where it originated. Some also think that the rolled tortilla resembles donkey ears, or rolled packs carried by burros, so accept this as the origin of the word burrito.

The burrito’s move into the United States

No matter what the origin of its name truly is, burritos have become a staple in American diets. First introduced into the country during the 1900s, the first known reference to the food was from El Cholo Spanish Café in Los Angeles. Although this dish was most likely being made across the United States at the time, California is still known for their delicious burritos. The most popular type today, which is wrapped in foil and known as the Mission burrito, is thought to have originated in San Francisco in the 1960s.

Today, the burrito has crossed cultures within the United States. You can now find Thai, Chinese, and Korean dishes melding with this classic food. You can also get burritos for breakfast with eggs, potatoes, bacon, and a host of other options. In Mexico, the burrito is mostly popular in northern areas rather than the country as a whole. They are also more like tacos than what Americans know as burritos.

Burritos as a Tex-Mex classic

The Tex-Mex form of this meal includes a lot more than its traditional Mexican counterpart. Rice, beans, vegetables, meat, and cheese make up many basic burritos in the United States. It is common to get these served with beans, rice, and a salad made of lettuce and tomatoes on the side. Guacamole and sour cream are also popular to add on to enhance the flavor. Classic sauces you will see include red, green, sour cream, tomato, and queso. There is a flavor combination for almost everyone, which is one reason why this dish has become so popular.

Learn more about the delicious food served at The Plaza Restaurant

Burritos are more than a meal; they are a classic comfort food to enjoy at any time of day. At the Plaza Restaurant, we specialize in making fresh food for the whole family. Check out our Locations in Amarillo, Lubbock, Borger, Pampa, Childress and Dumas Texas and Altus, Oklahoma to find a restaurant near you, and view our Menu to see the wide array of options we have available. We are family owned and operated and have been serving our guests quality Tex-Mex dishes since 1982.