Listen, I get a little obsessive. For instance, if I’m on a breakfast burrito quest to find the best breakfast burritos in LBK, you can expect that quest will run for long after I lose my initial interest. But it’s mostly because the hunger in my belly cannot be satisfied, and neither can the context goblins who run the dust-bunnied folds of my frontal lobe. They’re in there now hoarding useless bits of consumed knowledge refusing to unfile it for my use like the snobs in record and book stores who keep all the deep cuts and sacred screeds for themselves. Unlike that pretentious nerd with a pocket-chain, I’m going to divulge the results of my pedantic learning quest.
The truth is, I’ve had so many breakfast burritos in our corner of West Texas, but I still haven’t had them all. I tried though. I tried so hard that I have had them from Stripes’ very own Laredo Taco Company. Even though they roll out tortilla dough, and cook it on the griddle fresh, I can’t recommend it for any scenario other than a desperate one. Speaking of desperate, there’s the breakfast burrito I had from the trunk of a maroon Chevy Caprice in the parking lot of Yellow House Coffee. Like a dealer who sensed the cravings of his fiend, a woman pulled up and said, “Hey, want a burrito? They’re $3 dollars…” To which I could only say:
“Yes, give me two,” as she rescued them from next to the tire iron.
Also, not a fantastic burrito. But, I don’t regret it. I don’t regret any of it.
Third Tier Burritos:
These are perfectly serviceable breakfast burritos. They top Laredo Taco Company and backseat, black top burritos (burritos you buy from the trunk of a Chevy Caprice), but I wouldn’t consider them cream of the crop representatives of this city’s breakfast burrito scene.
This place caught my interest because generally it’s so damn hard to find local, non-American food outside of the loop. You want Thai, Mexican, or Indian food from a Thai, Mexican, or Indian family, you need to get inside of the loop because for some reason they can’t escape. Rachael’s is a heavy dose of Americana, Route 66, diner fare, complete with a New Mexican aesthetic. It’s pretty cheap and pretty good. Looking at the menu, makes me want to come back and give it a second shot. Their hot sauce will light you up and the burrito is a good size, but overall it middles.
Of course if we were talking donuts, it’d be a different story, but Rise & Shine Donuts’ burritos are pretty fair. It’s not a terrible burrito, it’s not even a mostly bad burrito (à la United Supermarkets), in fact I’d order it again. It’s mostly egg, and it’s pretty sizable for the price. Their hot sauce isn’t worth the environmental impact of the plastic it comes in — but all-in-all it’s a serviceable burrito – especially if you need some protein in your belly to protect your endocrine system from the sugar-shock you should be giving it if you’re at Rise & Shine Donuts. Skip the burrito, take a donut and a blueberry fritter instead. And don’t even get me started on their kolaches.
Again, this is a perfectly acceptable breakfast burrito. But not one I would choose over any of the next establishments I’ll mention. Similar to Rise & Shine Donuts, you’re going to want to have your own sauce on hand to spice up a Tech Cafe Burrito.
Some Honorable Mentions:
These burritos were all tasty, but they just failed to surpass the current favorite.
The burritos here are mostly tasty. While the product can be wildly inconsistent, I can say I’ve never had a bad burrito here. Now the experience of walking up to the counter to order or pay is treacherous. They have an enormous hole in the wall that looks like an unfinished patio, your shoes squawk and stick to god-knows-what on the concrete, and tables may or may not be cleaned depending on how vigorous the sparse staff may be feeling that day. Also, look out for the wires and cables behind the POS at the cashiers’ counter, if you drop something in that electro-nest you may never get it out.
I’ve actually been to a few of these around town and they are consistent and good. They can be a little greasy, but can’t we all? And a nice drip of juicy animal fat never lit a bag of dog poop on fire on your front porch and rang the doorbell and ran so that you’d be left with a flaming bag of dog poop to stamp out, lest your house burn down, did it? Each of the Josie’s franchise restaurants gets about an average of a 4-star review on Google and I can concur. It’s good, consistent and it won’t prank your house this Halloween. However, Yelpers are running it through the mud, so it’ll be interesting to see if this place can turn it around and keep kicking because it’s on a bit of a downward slide if you ask me.
I think El Charro is pretty solid. It gets a solid bump due its convenient location. Convenient to me anyway. I work downtown and live in Southwest Lubbock, so my senses get assaulted like the rest of yours on the Marsha Sharp or I-27 every morning commute. Every morning you can guarantee these 3 things will be happening: someone will be driving under 40mph, and someone will be driving over 80mph. Somehow you’ll be in both of their ways. Third, there will be someone on the service road on what appears to be their much younger nephew’s BMX bike. You’ll be in his way, too. None of this will have the cops’ attention who will have pulled over the guy driving 4 miles over the speed limit. And, yes, that person is me, and “shit, I’m late for a meeting…” El Charro is there to comfort me and you in any speedy exit off the 27. They have some good salsas a decent asada torta, and a few bubbly souls working who will make you glad you got out of bed this morning.
Yes, this is within a stone’s throw of the popular Burrito Tower (II), El Charro and this highly-rated little gem called Estrella’s I need to check out, so I’m dubbing this little thruway plot Lubbock’s Burrito Alley. You basically have options, and you can’t go wrong. What’s more than that is it’s just a couple minutes from my number 1 pick so far. I’d never even heard of Pronto Mart but I dug it up from some Internet forum on the subject. This place is a bustling convenience store, but behind a very active white door to the side of the counter comes forth mountains of breakfast burritos. Like silvery rods of scrumptious morsel from an Aztec god who is fattening you up because he likes a curvy sacrifice. You’ll have a hard time choosing just one after seeing so many piled before you. It’s a tasty burrito that has serious fans, but at the end of it — you’ll think.. it is from a convenience store. So it’s above average in that sense.
This one, along with the next selection is a sleeper hit. Taqueria Jalisco is one of my favorite restaurants in town. Their parrillada is one of my favorite dishes. It’s an assortment of grilled meats each charred perfectly to be eaten with tortillas like fajitas. Their service is also tremendous. If you want to see a well-oiled machine of a restaurant, go eat here any time you expect it would be too busy to do so and I guarantee you will be impressed with their process efficiency in getting lots of people in and out. This is a glimpse into the Jaliscian-style of campestre cookery which caters to big crowds out of big restaurants in its origin cities such as Guadalajara. The breakfast burrito here was steaming hot, perfect size, nice amount of bacon, perfect sauces — Jalisco’s burritos are definitely a sleeper hit.
This is my number one sleeper hit and a really close contender for the whole enchilada. Their breakfast burrito is great for the same reason the restaurant itself is a favorite: it’s just a little different. Most of these burritos listed here are very similar to one another. They all have a little texture, they mostly all have smashed potatoes and they mostly all have a red or green salsa. They’re all rolled pretty tight and road-ready. Most of them need a little salt, and most of them have mere specs of bacon remnants similar to the dark brown crumbs that splinter off onto your bacon plate at Waffle House when you snap the paper thin pork in half to savor longer.
Mar Y Tierra is different. Their potatoes are cubed, they use shredded cheese, they put a few full strips of bacon on your burrito (this is definitely a misstep in my book, I mean, this is how United Supermarkets treats us). The bacon is thick so that’s not a problem, the problem is that the bacon isn’t crispy so you have to tear at it with your teeth. I’m conflicted on this, the convenience-driven, user-experience oriented part of me is incensed that I would have to exert some kind of effort beyond arranging the whole scenario in the first place. But there’s another part of me who is just happy for the thick bacon. One thing is for sure, their eggs are perfect every time. A perfect scrambled egg should be fully set, but it should have several pockets of custardy, bright orange yolk and whiter than white whites. That combined with some browned lacy and almost crispy edges is what Mar Y Tierra does every time. And their sauce… it’s the best in town. It’s a fresh chunky, liquidy, flaming hot little number that’s appearance is somewhat deceiving. It’s the perfect balance of heat and acidity and its thin, runny texture means a little bit outruns your bites to the bottom with every pour. That gravity-bound marinade means this burrito gets better with every bite.
This place is a hidden gem. I love their carne asada fries, their tortas, and their chimichangas. I love their color-blocked building and their picnic tables and overhang. There’s a lot to love about Poliberto’s Taco Shop. Their breakfast burritos are really big and really cheap. I’m normally not after quantity over quality — but realize the appeal. It’s all about finding that perfect break-even point. At what point does quantity have an inverse effect to quality? Poliberto’s found that point and pushed two clicks over the line into quantity territory and I don’t fault them for that. Their breakfast burritos are still better than Picantes, and cheaper and bigger, too.
The Populars I Only Ate Once: Picantes and Arandas Taqueria
I only ate these burritos once because they didn’t wow or impress me. If I thought a burrito had a shot at being called “The Best Breakfast Burrito In Lubbock,” I ate it multiple times, just to be sure, but these two spots never made it past round 1.
This may stir the pot a little because I realize Picantes is a real hometown favorite. To be clear, I think Picantes is perfectly functional Mexican food. I think their popularity has everything to do with their location, though. They’re right in the thick of Lubbock’s newly-adulting populace. They feed waves and waves of hungry bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 20-somethings looking for cheap eats from a neighborhood haunt and Picantes will always be there to answer the call. It will continue to create new evangelists of its slightly above average fare, while those evangelists will stick strongly to the opinion that it’s the best Mexican food in Lubbock. The breakfast burrito is something of a flagship offering to these zealots — but it’s not even in the top 5 if you want to know the truth.
Arandas Taqueria is a super solid choice if you’re hungry for Mexican. Their tacos and tortas are great. Their breakfast burritos are decent, too. The sauce is great, but overall, they just didn’t stand out to me enough. They didn’t stand out to me enough because I had already found the breakfast burrito that I love the most.
The Best Breakfast Burrito: Polly’s Place on 19th near Avenue A
This place is King for me so far, even though it only barely exists according to Yelp. The burritos are consistently delicious with perfectly cooked eggs, they never need salt, they always have a passable amount of bacon, and the tortillas are the perfect thickness. The cheese is always super melty, creamy and salty and the potatoes are cubed for great texture. The size is so right that you never question the price and Polly’s burritos have elicited the most praise from coworker recipients. “Where did you say this came from again? It’s really good.”
Of course I never told them where it came from, that’s information I only want you to know.
P.S. Tell me if I missed your favorite. I’ll be getting to Texas Burrito and Lillie’s Place before too long.