In the Ocotillo neighborhood, deep into Chandler, we welcome a new, family-run burrito shop, Rita’s Burritos. Their grand opening was on December 16, 2015 and the community has responded with fervor. And once you take a bite, you will understand why.
The story of Rita’s Burritos starts with two brothers, Gilbert and Mario Meraz, born and raised in El Paso, Texas and with Gilbert now living in Ocotillo. Both were working corporate jobs and did not feel fulfilled at what they were doing. So they decided to pursue a business together. When creating the Rita’s Burritos concept, the Meraz brothers wanted to develop a restaurant with a single item and perfect it instead of having an array of menu items and just be ok at all of them. As you will see, it is pretty much a simple, yet great selection of tasty burritos. The menu consists mostly of family recipes from their mother (Rita) and a few created by the brothers themselves, like the RCB (red chile brisket), Chipotle Pulled Pork, Whites & Turkey. The tortillas are also a family recipe and are made fresh everyday by hand, throughout the day, in the open kitchen. It was fascinating to watch the tortillas being made—what skill! After a tour of their kitchen, I noticed Rita’s Burritos does not have a freezer, nor a microwave. Gilbert and Mario are dedicated to ensuring the freshest quality of ingredients and the team works tirelessly everyday preparing and marinating the meats so they have enough inventory for the masses without the need of keeping frozen meats and marinades in storage. This anti-freezer concept was a struggle initially for the team. With the boom in business during opening week, Gilbert and Mario admit it was a challenge to have enough food on certain days because they did not expect such an incredible turn out and they would keep selling out, having to close early on a couple days. However, as with all new restaurants, they are getting a better feel for their daily inventory and balancing their preparation process.
Simplistic in its design, Rita’s Burritos offers no-frills burritos. It is very “what you see is what you get,” which allows Rita’s to keep to their “fresh, fast, delicious” mission. You will not find pico de gallo, sour cream and guacamole or whatever add-ons you may find elsewhere. But you will have the option for red or green salsa if you wanted to kick up the spice a notch. Rita’s has breakfast options for early risers who may need eggs and bacon on the go, classics like pork chile verde and carne asada, and also cold wraps served in a flavored tortilla. And also great? The prices! For as little as $2 for the Bean & Cheese to the $7 Brisket Wrap, the majority of the menu is between $3-$4. Check out some of my favorites below:
Being residents in the Ocotillo community, the brothers have been overwhelmed and grateful with the local support. The restaurant space, although small and limited only to a few tables, is set up to be an order and go service so I recommend calling in your order for pick-up and enjoying your burrito back at work or home (or if you cannot wait like me, enjoy them in your car during the commute). For more info on Rita’s Burrito, you can visit their website: http://ritasburritos.com