October 19, 2004


We went to Gainesville over the weekend and had a chance to stop in at a favorite old haunt from our college days: Burrito Brothers Taco Co.


This place is a legend in Hogtown. The size of a broom closet, it makes hundreds of meals a day, all of them incredibly delicious. And I'm not just saying that because I've been drunk 99 percent of the times I've eaten there. In fact, the meals tasted as good coming up as they did going down.

You'll have to trust me on this one.

BBTC has been in business since 1976. It's had a long and twisted history. You can read the back story about the restaurant by clicking here.

The restaurant's Web site is pretty entertaining, especially the photos of their T-shirts taken in exotic places.

Then there are the answers to frequently asked questions:

Why don't you have guacamole every day?

We try to make guac every day, but sometimes we don't have any ripe avocados. We buy our avocados while they are still hard and green and ripen them ourselves and sometimes nature just doesn't cooperate.

If the neon guac sign is lit, does that mean you have marijuana for sale?

No, it means we have guac that day.

The restaurant gave away free food in exchange for the best haiku written last summer. The winner:

Hot lips sucking breath
Primo with jalapenos
Summer on the tongue

This was a runner up:

Just like Letterman
One bag, burritos and guac
SPLAT at the tower

Anyway, one of the highlights of the place is the people it attracts. On any given day, you'll see frat boys next to stoners next to secretaries next to auto mechanics.


Like this dude with the tribal earings and multiple piercings.


Did I mention it was small? The photo doesn't do it justice.


The counter area is so cramped, it's hard to tell the order line from the pickup line.


This is the most important guy in the shop - the tortilla maker. Alas, it's not as glamorous as you might imagine. Hence this ditty from one former employee:

And, filling containers with that magical sauce,
those pintos, so fresh, that salsa so hot.
All these memories of times at Burrito Bros gone by.
But I do not miss cleaning the fryer with lye.


The staff is not encouraged to pierce and tattoo themselves. It's not a job requirement, even. But most of them do anyway. Must be the effect of inhaling all that grease.


You can tell it's a college town by the bulletin board.


Nice typo. Must be a J-school grad.


How much has Gainesville changed since I was there? Well, I can't imagine that the basketball coach would have been featured on a tip jar when I was a student. Football was king - even before Steve Spurrier came and went.


Gotta love a little rumor control.


I had planned to shoot photos of the food we bought before we ate it. The aroma interrupted those plans.

This is a partially devoured beef and black bean Primo Taco.


This was a partially gnawed Primo beef and black bean burrito.

Want some? You're in luck. They ship burritos FedEx.

Posted by Jeff at October 19, 2004 03:40 AM | TrackBack

A tiny, tiny world: I am reading this in Seattle where I started reading you to keep up on hurricanes, and here you are writing a paean to my sister's business. I'll send her a link right away.

Posted by: Carol at October 19, 2004 01:11 PM

How cool of you to post this! We were wondering who was taking photos on Saturday after the game.
Hope you guys had a great time visiting Gainesville- it was certainly a beautiful weekend. It's finally fall in FL...

Posted by: Janet at October 19, 2004 02:05 PM

Sorry. Didn't mean to make anyone paranoid. I was taking them for the blog and to make a friend jealous back home.

And guess what? It worked.

He's taking a four-hour dinner break on Monday to come get his fill.

I'll be in next week, too, for a convention at the Reitz Union. I'll stop by and say hello.

Posted by: Jeff at October 19, 2004 04:02 PM

Not a problem. As you know, odd things happen in there all the time;>)
Email me your street address and I'll buy lunch, unless it would violate some journalistic code or ethics or something...

Posted by: Janet at October 19, 2004 10:21 PM

Where were you when I was poor and starving?!?!?!?


Besides being unethical, I'd have guilt pangs from the pleasure I'd receive gratis. We'll be happy to pay.

See you next week.

Posted by: Jeff at October 20, 2004 08:59 AM

former burrito roller, in the days before black beans..sigh, miss the food, but not the pay. thanks for the link janet.

Posted by: ralph at October 21, 2004 06:24 AM

i should mention that i am the proud posseser of 2 brand new BBTC t shirts in my bloated old mans size.

Posted by: ralph at October 21, 2004 06:28 AM

Ralph worked at BBTC from 1977 to 1979 when I think we paid minimum which was about $2.15 an hour. But the benefits were great, right Ralph?
Unfortunately, the new development we're going to eventually move into will cause the destruction of Ralph's old brick apartment on NW 3rd across from the Krispy Kreme.

Posted by: Janet at October 21, 2004 04:05 PM

Poor Ralph was in the Bermuda Triangle: Krispy Kreme, BBTC & The Student Ghetto.

Posted by: Jeff at October 22, 2004 04:44 AM

Indeed. Can't believe that they're going to tear down the Anchor Lodge. And the closest-to-campus head shop, Modern Age is out of there too.

Posted by: Janet at October 22, 2004 02:19 PM