Mucho Burrito – Edmonton, AB

Mucho Burrito
10124 – 109th Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 1M7
Open 11:00am-9:00pm daily

September 2008 re-visit post here

Original post below:

Baja Fresh. Freebirds. Chipotle. These are not Mexican by any stretch of the imagination, but can be classified as “Fresh Mex“, “Mexican Grill”or any other variety of classifications. What they serve, is a fresh, healthier alternative to the classic Mexican burrito. No lard. Fresh vegetables. That sort of thing. What they lack in authenticity, they make up for in quantity, and price. They serve a lot of food, at a good price point. A large burrito usually comes in the size of your forearm. And then some. I’ll admit, while this stuff isn’t gourmet, everybody has their favorite – and it is pretty tasty. And while healthier usually equates to “not as tasty”, this is one instance where I can honestly say “different, but good”.

Sadly, these franchises have refused to expand north of the border. I even inquired, nine or ten years ago, into getting a Baja Fresh franchise for Alberta. They were looking for development partners who could purchase territories, with a minimum of ten to fifteen million dollars in liquid, unborrowed assets. Needless to say, unless they were willing to accept money from The Game of Life(tm), it wasn’t going to happen. I lamented the fact that I could not get a big, cheap, fresh-mex burrito here, and limited myself to jaunts whenever i headed south of the border. Well, I am pleased to say, we finally have an acceptable alternative here in Alberta.  That option is Mucho Burrito.

Alberta has seen a few aborted attempts. Taco Time tried their Cantina concept. Chico Tecates brought in a salsa bar, but labour issues pushed them out of business. Taco Del Mar tries to do too much. Even Wrapture came out with a burrito campaign, but they were really masters of nothing. Mucho Burrito is the first dedicated Burrito chain – and they have learned their craft well. Right at the hands of Chipotle in fact.

When I first walked into a Mucho Burrito, my first thought was “Chipotle!”. From the decor, to the menu, to the assembly line, the burrito trays, right down to the brown bag they serve the tortilla chips in, everything was eerily similar.  To be honest, this actually does not bother me – copy away, as long as you can produce a similar facsimile to the end product.

The menu for Mucho Burrito is actually pretty basic – and available online, so i’ll leave some mystery to you all. Let’s concentrate on the burritos. They come in three sizes – 10″, 12″, and 14″. Choice of rice, beans, salsa, cheese, guacamole, roasted veggies and a filling. The fillings are basic too – all prepped in the back kitchen, and sitting in chafing dishes to keep warm. Barbacoa, Carnitas, Pollo, and Carne Asada. This is burrito 101.

I order the signature Mucho Burrito dish – the Mucho Burrito(14″) – which allows you to top it anyway you like. Looking to test the limits of their generosity, I load the burrito with any topping i can get my hands on. They comply, and promptly create a monstrosity – a meal for two. Tightly wrapped, I can say with some certainty, and glee, the quantity is definitely there.

Taking a big bite into it, I am thoroughly satisfied. The Carnitas is decent – good flavour, tender. Nothing i would call great, but for Alberta, it is a minor miracle. Everything is fresh. It’s so busy that everything has to stay fresh – none of it sits around that long. They’ve done an excellent job of balancing all the ingredients, and making sure that the burrito ends up as one goopy, flavour-filled mess.

Look, this is not French Laundry or El Bulli. Heck, this is not even Freebird’s. However, when you’ve been starving in the desert for as long as Albertans have, any bit of water is a big sign of hope. Like a good burger, somtimes simple and filling is what the doctor ordered. Is the product perfect? By no means. Would I rather eat real Mexican? Most of the time. But when I am in the mood for something big, sloppy and loaded, a burrito usually hits the spot. And for the first time in my recollection, there’s a fresh mex burrito worth eating in Alberta at Mucho Burrito.

Mucho Burrito on Urbanspoon

14 thoughts on “Mucho Burrito – Edmonton, AB

  1. On behalf of the Mucho Burrito team at Jasper and 109 Street, Edmonton we would like to thank you for your gracious comments. We would love to meet you at our restaurant, please ask for Imran or Shahnaz.

  2. Imran,

    Please keep up the good work. Needless to say, as long as you do, I will continue to spread the word, and support your business with many burrito orders!

    In terms of your kind offer to meet, thank you, but we have to decline. The point of Foodosophy is to remain anonymous, so we are able to speak freely, and honestly, about our experiences. However, we wish you all the best in your business endeavors.

  3. Depending on how rigorous their training is, the quality between franchises can vary quite a bit. I hope whomever takes over the “suburban power centre” location (whatever the heck that is) does any equally good job. Calgary deserves better quality of fresh mex as well.

    And thanks for your kind words – I just hope people understand the reasoning, and do not think we are doing it just to be mean, or unaccountable.

  4. HA! Great news.
    Beacon Hill is just around the corner at the end of Sarcee Trail, where Costco is. A mere 10 minutes from Bearspaw. Gotta love it.
    My whole family is addicted to Chipotle’s after all those years in Vegas and if MUCHO BURRITO is anything like Chipotle’s, we got a winner.

  5. Having had the chance to compare both Mucho Burrito and Chipotle in a short span, I unfortunately have to say that MB has still ways to go.
    The effort is there, no doubt, but they still lack in the overall delivery compared to Chipotle.
    I am hopeful though, as I believe that the concept is good and very easy to improve upon.
    Let’s see what happens when they open in YYC.

  6. HPeter – I agree 100%. They don’t quite have the quality down quite yet, and the execution needs to get a bit better. However, when compared to other Fresh Mex choices that we have, it’s heads and shoulders better.

    Since the owners seem to have read this thread in the past, what would you suggest they improve?

  7. To begin with, the rice. Chipotle’s flavor is outstanding. AND very easy to copy.
    Burritos are at par in size. No improvement needed there.
    But as you by now may have read between the lines, I am advocating for Celiacs and MB’s only option for those folk is a (very) reduced version of the Burrito bowl. In fact, they do not offer one, but improvise with a takeout dish.

    Kick up the overall flavors and they will be successfull. Especially in Calgary, Mexican dining options both fast and casual, are not worth reporting about.

  8. Excellent points. I don’t know how much control an individual franchisee/owner has, but hopefully this feedback makes it back to them. This is valuable stuff, if they choose to listen.

    I’d suggest leaving a comment card next time as well. Or asking for the owners… you’d be surprised at how receiptive they are to good, honest feedback.

  9. Thank you foodosopher and h.peter. I moved frpm YYC last year and am celiac as well. I tasted MB when they opened and found limited menu items for me, but what I ate was good, fresh food. Not comparable to the other chains mentioned but a good fast food alternative.

    I will visit again to taste the rice and see if it compared to the fresh Mex I just had in San Diego.

  10. I finally ate at Mucho Burrito at Beacon Hill Centre for lunch today and thought I’d add my comment. I should preface though with the statement that for the four years I lived in Cleveland, I ALWAYS ordered the EXACT same fajita burrito from Chipotle (frequently), so that is what I tried because that is what I know (and still crave!).

    Overall rating 8.5/10. Everything was very fresh; a great sign. The option of whole wheat tortilla was interesting but I stuck with my original game plan. However, I actually thought the choice of small, medium or large tortilla was an improvement over Chipotle; I went medium. The Asada (Steak) was tender but lacked in the marinade (based on the milder taste compared to what I remember). The rice was cook well but again lack in the cillantro flavour I craved. The roasted veggies could have been done a little longer and the cheese seemed a bit of a cheap cheddar mix compare to what chipotles uses. The mild (fresh) salsa and sour cream were generally comparable. Finally, I for some reason forgot my game plan and opted for the burrito sauce (momentary laps); because of this, I got a little flustered and forgot to ask them to throw a little lettuce on it. So it wasn’t exactly what I remembered, but it was still worth the experience.

    And I must concur with some of the other posts. Even though it isn’t quite Chipotle, it is a welcome addition to my regular culinary experiences in Calgary. I have been without a fajita burrito for a year and a half now (I still remember my last Chipotle experience with fond memories) and so needed a fix in a big way. It did do it, so kudos to Mucho Burrito. I will return (often).

    And in response to one post about Chipotle not being north of the border; check their website, there’s now one in TO!

  11. Thanks for the report CF. Your intel (and the details you provide) are invaluable, and much appreciated. I will have to try the Beacon Hill location – i must confess though, i have no idea where that is, and what else is out there. Can you fill me in please?


  12. To find the Beacon Hill Mucho Burrito location in the NW of calgary, simply travel north on Sarcee Trail from Crowchild, continue past John Laurie and Country Hills roads, and you should see it as it is a huge new shopping center (has a Costco, Canadian Tire, etc.) All of the restaurants are centrally located in the complex.

  13. Pingback: The DIY Dinner Menu

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