Friday, March 11, 2011

Originally posted on The Lunchbox

A Catchup with Burritos and Blues
(Date:10 March 2011)

Burritos and Blues

Burritos and Blues on the top of Wexford Street is now open 6 months (how time flies eh!) and is an arch commander in the Mexican Revolución which our Capital City seems to be in the throws of!

An obvious favourite of your lunch lovers, we though we'd asked Mr. David Stone, Chief Junior Vice President of Burrito Production at Burritos and Blues (aka Owner!) to have a chat, and grilled him (heh, see what we did there, GRILLED!) on how things were going, why Dubliners seem to love Mexican, his own cookery skills, and his strange love of criticism! Oh, and by the way, did you know that Burrito is translated as "Little Donkey" in Mexican? Now you do!

We asked David to give his thBurritos and Bluesoughts on how things are going at the coalface of the New Mexican Wave (my God, we're on fire today!)

So, 6 months in and what do I think? I reckon Dublin LOVES Burritos (and Quesadilla, Nachos etc!)
I started planning the return of Burritos & Blues back in 2008/09. I used to joke about it and I was always laughed at! As some people already know, Burritos & Blues was operating in Ranelagh up to 2007. I was not part of it, but was lucky enough to have met the guys who were at the coal face, Fahima and the other chefs.
We opened on Wexford Street in August 2010, and I knew that we needed something different! Something Mexican, but more than just burritos!  Fresh, hot, wholesome food, at a good price with top quality meats and in house made recipes. I also wanted people to see what they were getting! I also wanted the place to look casual but friendly. I realise it may look like a crèche with all the colours but I think it compliments our efforts of trying to be a young, fresh and vibrant brand.
And so it began......
We opened on the 4th and ran out of food 2 hours in! We did not expect the crowds that came. Thankfully it opened our eyes and we haven’t ran out of food since then!

The queues running down Wexford Street to get in the door at lunch time, must mean you've come close a few times! Do you do much of the cooking yourself David?

I am not at the counters much. I love food and how it’s made, however my knife skills are not that great although I am learning! I do the day to day things like ensure the staff are happy, ensure the suppliers are giving us what we order and generally talking up the place. I am lucky that we have a great bunch of staff here. Fahima is the head chef, and I am sure you will know her if you have ever had lunch here.
The effort and passion Fahima and the guys put into the food is phenomenal! There is not a morning that I come in and Fahima isn’t complaining that something isn’t 100% right, and we have to fix it ASAP. We want our food to be known for being “Simple, Honest Food, 100% Fresh”.

Burritos and Blues
What is your own favourite option on the menu?

My own fav is the Chicken Burrito with #1 salsa, as I am not a spice man myself! A little secret is to ask for some grilled veg in it as well! It’s delish! The Guac is also awesome!
We don’t just limit ourselves to Burritos. We have an extensive menu with options to suit everyone. From Nachos, to Quesadillas, and our Sexy Salsa Fries to Burrito Bowls, we try to cater for everyone. We also have several options for the Veggie’s out there.

From being a regular in store, it seems that Burritos and Blues' enthusiasm knows no bounds David! Would I be right in saying that all of this really excites you?

I love the way business works. I love the problems, the highs, the lows (the robbery, the extraction system breaking down on a Friday night etc). The model we have is quite unique in Dublin. Only ourselves and Boojum (the enemy! Only Joking!) are doing Burritos using a “Subway-esque” method and I think it works. “100% Customised, 100% Fresh”

Some of our more mature users may have fond memories of the old Burritos and Blues in Ranelagh, was it difficult to get the business going again?

Reviving Burritos & Blues was a big challenge! I am a baby faced 28 year old, and whenever I explained what I was doing, the older business people around would often sneer and immediately try to deflate me with some sort of negative statement like “The Recession” etc. In fact I think the recession has had a positive impact on us starting up! I think that people now are more savvy and do not expect to be paying top dollar for sub standard product and more importantly “scabby portions”.  Our prices range from €2.50 for our cheesy cubes to 8 euro for our Big Ass Nachos. Burritos range from €5.95 for the Silver Bullet to €7 for a huge Steak Burrito.
I do believe and hope that we serve a great product, at a very good price with a substantial amount of top quality food Burritos and Blues Missionin it, with a smile.

You guys also open late to tickle the tastebuds of the, eh, late night lunchers, shall we say!

We are open till 4 am on Friday & Saturday nights and this takes its toll on everyone, however we are slowly carving out a niche night time market on a very vibrant and loud Wexford Street!

With burritos being a relatively new thing to the generally rich tapestry of food in Dublin, you must get a lot of people asking questions about what to have?

Yes, and I love people asking questions about the food! I love people saying positive things about the place and I REALLY love the critics! People and business cannot be at their best at all times.
Criticism and feedback is key in trying to be the best at what we do! I love feedback, as long as it’s constructive! There is no place for vicious criticism in Dublin. It’s too small and vicious feedback can actually close places down! I think that review sites, and other forums like that should allow the customer actively express their views, be it positive or negative, BUT allow the business owners have an opinion and react to the feedback.
At Burritos & Blues we try to be as interactive with our customers as possible. Be it in the ordering process, where you are in constant contact with the server, or through our online and social media presence. We have a very active Twitter account (due to me being addicted to the bloody thing!), @burritosblues and a Facebook page that we are working on. Our website is quite well used, and allows customers recommend any funky Blues Music that they want to hear on the speakers in Wexford Street.
We also spread a viral video in March. You can see it on YouTube under TNT Salsa. It is just another way we try to communicate with our customers and prospective customers!
All in all it has been a great 6-7 months. The food has been flying out the door and I pray that it continues!

Sounds good! What are the plans for the future then? A full scale Burrito Revolution?

Well, in May we will hopefully start to introduce our Salsas and marinade rub into the public domain. These will be available through the Wexford Street unit and hopefully in a few stores around Dublin.
We plan on opening a smaller location on Stephen Street in April and are talking to a few guys about another possible location near Grafton Street. I don’t want to rush things however. We have to be brilliant at what we do in Wexford Street first. Viva La BURRITO!!

Viva the "Little Donkey" indeed! Some very interesting thoughts there, from a very interesting eatery! Do drop in and give David a smile, (or some feedback) if you're around Wexford St!

You can view Burritos + Blues mylunch page here
Click here for the Burritos and Blues Menu
View their exclusive mylunch offer here
Or interact with David directly via their Twitter account (Yes, he really is addicted!)

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