Fast Food Rundown

AMA vs. LBK: Thrilla’ at the Villa

What I Ate: Bean Burrito, Crispy Beef Taco, Steak Taco

Amarillo and Lubbock are similar, but they’re not the same. Kinda’ like their Taco Villas. Both cities seem to have fervent devotees to the west Texas/Panhandle fast food institution, but one definitely fares better than the other when it comes to pure deliciousness. Amarillo Taco Villas are better.

LBK, don’t think I’m not giving you a fair shot at Taco Villa glory. In fact, I consider Lubbock to be a better all-around food city compared to Amarillo. You have the American food genre on lock, especially when it comes to burger-and-fries spots. Amarillo wishes it could have cheese sticks and zucchini fried up like that of Spanky’s. Amarillo wishes it could have the Burger of the Week on the somewhat cheesy, The Texas Bucket List TV show and one of Texas Monthly‘s 50 Best Burgers in Texas like Orlando’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise”… Yes Amarillo, Lubbock’s Orlando’s Italian Restaurant has a top-50 ranked burger in Texas Monthly. Lubbock also has better Chinese, Italian, breakfast, up-scale, chain, frat-exican, trendy trust fund taco, nouveau riche fusion, and barbecue. So when I say your Taco Villa isn’t as good, you can believe I’ve given it objective consideration.

Lubbock also has better Chinese, Italian, breakfast, up-scale, chain, frat-exican, trendy trust fund taco, nouveau riche fusion, and barbecue.

Amarillo, take heart; you have better coffee, pizza, Japanese, Mexican, old money scallop, bougie status comfort, and perhaps Thai… although I’m still deciding on this question of Thai. You definitely have a finer Taco Villa. I know it’s a small victory, but you need small victories against a Lubbock that continues to outpace in terms of livability.

The Taco Villas look different in LBK vs. AMA. Despite that fact, everyone I’ve spoken to in LBK says they’re the same. Although, Taco Villas in LBK have a darker brown stucco exterior (maybe so as not to show the wind-blown dirt as much), different logos, different bags, different menus, and a different customer service experience.

Amarillo, take heart; you have better coffee, pizza, Japanese, Mexican, old money scallop, bougie status comfort, and perhaps Thai… although I’m still deciding on this question of Thai.

In Amarillo, when you order a bean burrito the person taking your order spells it back to you like this, “One B-E-A-N bean burrito? Anything else?” It’s a little unnecessary, but it just make you feel heard. Know what I’m saying? It’s kind of like when you introduce yourself to a salesman type of guy and he starts calling you by name several times throughout the conversation. It just makes you feel heard, know what I’m saying? Taco Villa Amarillo makes you feel heard.

Taco Villa Lubbock has some god-awful tables inside. They look like a guy at Gold’s Gym tribal band tattoo, with color. The food is lukewarm, even from the drive-thru, but usually tastes good. They also have a larger menu with more breakfast items than in Amarillo, and one new location even serves beer. There are 9 Taco Villas in Lubbock, but only 6 in Amarillo. It’s a neck-and-neck race between the two really. But Amarillo edges Lubbock by a smidge through pure execution.

Here’s the proof:

Take a look at Amarillo’s B-E-A-N burrito. It’s like melty medley of molten hot bean, cheese, and red sauce gravy. It’s going to squeeze out and get on your shirt if you’re not careful, and that kind of risk is the most delicious kind. Plus, check out that thin, flaky tortilla. It looks like it just came off the griddle, slightly browned and blushing from a quickie Maillard Reaction.
Here’s LBK’s bean burrito. Notice those beans look they just got spooned from a can. They’re not even hot enough to melt into a molten medley of shirt-ruining goodness. And that tortilla is doughie, cold, and too thick to compare with the ‘Rillo. It looks like a nuked tortilla anyone could buy at United in a pack of 2o.
Here’s a crispy beef taco from Amarillo. Let’s disregard the unripened tomato that nobody ever asked for. The beef is hot enough to wilt the lettuce and melt the cheese. The shell is highly functional with a blunted portion at the bottom, it’s “U” shaped rather than “V” shaped, so you can actually get some meat in there.
Taco Villa Lubbock is including meat in their crispy beef tacos… I promise. It’s just that there’s so much lettuce and unripened tomato, you can barely see the little ball of it in there. Another thing about the “V” shaped shell, as soon as you bite it, it’s busted as a delivery method because the two halves must compress beyond their structural limitations (to get all that lettuce in your grill). This is a poorly engineered taco… and I think we all know it.
Steak taco from Amarillo is adorned with colorful pico, beef hot enough to melt cheese, and comes in a foil wrapper, street-style. This thing is hot and delicious with a tortilla that’s the perfect thickness. Too doughy a tortilla covers up the taste of goodness inside.
Taco Villa Lubbock steak taco… no, just no.

To be fair, I think the red sauces and hot sauces are a very similar recipe, if not the exact same. The original Taco Villa started in Odessa and they’re owned by Bobby Cox Companies, Inc. The Lubbock Taco Villas are franchised out to Endeavour Enterprises. So they are indeed different.

Differences can be an advantage. Can be.

Given the chance, I’d eat at Amarillo Taco Villas 2 days per week. I’d eat LBK Taco Villas 1 day per week.

18 comments on “AMA vs. LBK: Thrilla’ at the Villa

  1. Good article, but a lot of incorrect statements. Six Taco Villas in Amarillo and one in Canyon.

    They spell a bean and meat burrito out over the speaker because they often sound the same. M-E-A-T meat burrito. B-E-A-N bean burrito. The pros know this, and we spell it out when ordering. The green sauce in Amarillo is also amazing. It’s great on a chicken burrito or on that steak fajita taco you had.

    All in all, you are pretty much spot on when it comes to Lubbock vs Amarillo on the food. I enjoyed the read.


    • Jonathan James Scott

      You’re right. Corrected the number of Taco Villas in Amarillo. Thanks! I looked at those numbers like 5 times on Google and seem to have come away with different amounts each time. Tell me the other incorrect statements so I can correct them too!

      I’ve met many fervent apostles of the green sauce, but for some reason I always forget to add that. I mainly go for the b-e-a-n burritos and the Guadalajara, add chicken. But you’re definitely not the first to tell me about the green sauce… I’ll check it out. For you, because I think you know what’s up.


      • There are 8 taco villas in Lubbock and I have to disagree. The ingredients Lubbock uses seem much better quality than that at Amarillo


    • TV Fanatic

      Amarillo’s TV is way better than in Lubbock!!! Sorry Lubbock! I won’t even eat there unless I have to! Their nacho cheese is awful!!! TV’s the BEST!!! 😃😃😃


      • Jonathan James Scott

        A lot of people have arguments in favor of LBK Taco Villa, but the photos definitely make the stronger case for AMA.


  2. The Goldenlight Cafe in Amarillo was on the ‘Texas Bucket List’ show last year. It is the oldest restaurant in Amarillo.


    • Jonathan James Scott

      I haven’t had one of those burgers in a while. Which one is your favorite? I usually get the one with mushrooms.


  3. Nice article! Very thorough! Thank you!

    As a Lubbockite, I like to think of our Taco Villas as the “new” style of Taco Villa. They just look so hip and clean. I LOVE their breakfast, fresh chicken wraps, and margaritas!

    However, when I am out of town, I visit ANY Taco Villa I come across. I crave the “old” style taste of these Taco Villas. It takes me back to the best of memories from high school and young adulthood. I’m not sure I would have survived without those bean burritos! Seriously!

    So, pretty much, I love them both!!

    If you are checking out Thai, you should definitely try Thai Pepper in Lubbock! Nothing beats it!!


    • Jonathan James Scott


      Good points about Lubbock Taco Villas.

      Thai Pepper is on the list for sure.


  4. 100% correct!!! I grew up in Amarillo (70s & 80s) where my love of TV was born. I went to Texas Tech and have been in Lubbock ever since…30 years. Amarillo TV wins every time!!! Best part of your article is the spelling aspect. I spell out M-E-A-T every time I order my burrito in Lubbock and they look at me like I’m crazy. As does everyone else in my family. (They weren’t born and bred in Amarillo!)


    • Jonathan James Scott

      Thanks for reading!


    • Mike Greer

      Interesting! I grew up in Lubbock and started eating at TV in the 70s. Back then they spelled out b-e-a-n burrito. Every single time. I noticed they don’t do it anymore in Lubbock, but anyone who thinks that was only done in Amarillo wasn’t paying attention! I love TV in Lubbock and go there every time I’m in town. I live in El Paso now and wish we had TV, though we have a LOT of much more authentic Mexican food here. If Amarillo TV is even better than Lubbock, then I will be sure to try it next time I’m up there!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Erika Lowe

    I live in the Rillo and love our TV’s but I travel to Lubbock weekly and always stop for a meat burrito ! Lubbocks TV meat is so much richer than ours ! Sorry Rillo ! I also am in love with their fresh chicken wrap ! We don’t have them in Rllo !


    • Jonathan James Scott

      You’re not the first person who’s commented on the differences in meat. I’ll have to explore this further… Thanks for the tip.


  6. nico806

    They are definitely 2 different companies. They might originally have been the same but it seems like the Lubbock locations went into a far different direction. They even have different websites.

    This is the website for the TV in Amarillo, they don’t even list the Lubbock TV’s.

    This is the website for the TV in Lubbock, Levelland and Clovis.


  7. I totally agree, it’s true that Amarillo Taco Villa is better than Lubbock. Odessa-Midland, where it all started, and Amarillo area use same supplier, but Lubbock does not, from what I’ve been told. In my family we have to wait until we go home to get the really good Taco Villa.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jil Arias

    I think Amarillo’s Thai blows Lubbock out of the water. The reason you can get so much good, authentic Thai in Amarillo is due to the large number of Burmese refugees brought to Amarillo by the Catholic Diocese over the years. They brought the flavors of the region with them.

    Over time, good Thai has appeared in other parts of the Panhandle: Canyon, Pampa, and even Sunray.


    • J. James Scott

      Agreed. It’s a hugely diverse population over there in Eastridge. I miss it. And also Bangkok Tokyo on Western…


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