ELMHURST – You want to know the best thing about El Famous Burrito on York Ave?
We don’t lack for Mexican food options here at the front edge of the western suburbs. From tiny spots to well-lit chains, they beckon from the strip malls, corner lots and city centers.
And sure, I like to walk down the line at Chipotle just like everyone else. I point and ask for my ideal mix of ingredients and I watch with high anticipation as the lukewarm chicken breast, chopped into little cubes, is perfectly measured and dropped onto my tortilla. But as I bite into my creations, they typically turn out … fine. They are just what I asked for, but they somehow miss the intense flavor combinations that I truly crave.
So, like many of the other local food lovers, I head to El Famous Burrito at 904 N. York St. when I want to fill up on the good stuff. While it doesn’t look like much from the outside, the chicken burritos inside are beauties.
The toasty tortillas are filled with big chunks of from-the-bone chicken that has been slowly simmered in a spiced red sauce. Rolled together with a slather of slow-simmered beans and the basic toppings, the finished burritos are heavy, dense and delicious.
The team at the griddle work fluidly as they chop, roll and smile their way through their shifts. The perfectly-layered tortas are the best around, the full dinner plates are savory, filling meals and the sides of guac and chips are substantial, flavorful and worth every dime.
Bringing people together
But the best thing about El Famous is the power that good food has to bring diverse people together. The crowd there is amazing, and this is never more evident than on Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunch.
With their $1.40 taco specials, the place is packed. Sweaty guys in hard harts order next to crowds of yoga moms. Real estate agents chatter over deals next to students, women from the office sway gossip next to the IT consultants. Like going to the Bears game or a big concert, this place attracts totally different people from all over, all digging the same exact thing.
Stop in the next time you’re craving a great burrito. And be sure to say hi to the guy next to you in line. You’re both in for a treat.
The Elmhurst Bigmouth is an anonymous, opinionated food lover who eats at all the best places in town. Comments welcome.