When it comes to food, I – as those who try to cater to me at Yelp events are becoming increasingly aware – am resistant to change. I know what I like, and I like to treat myself to it. So when I found out that Glasgow institution Pinto was rebranding to reflect its merger with Manchester-based Mexican eatery Barburrito I was… sceptical. And a little bit concerned.
You see, over the past few months I’ve developed a little Friday lunchtime ritual to celebrate a working week well done: a chicken burrito, no beans, extra veg, medium salsa and cheese. No drink, because the “meal deal” works out more expensive than just buying a can of Coke from the vending machine in the office. The Hope St Pinto is right by my work, so I can call in after a walk and my food will still be piping hot by the time I get back to my desk. And the super-friendly staff all know me, because I arrive in some ridiculous hair accessory and always have time for conversation.
And then, one Friday: closed. For a rebrand, and the Gordon St branch isn’t hugely out of my way. But still. But still.
I went back – of course I went back. And all the same staff were there, and the food was still the same, and I got a shiny new loyalty card. And suddenly they had churros on the menu, which of course I had to order because: dessert. Same as it ever was – until, a couple of weeks later, I was invited to a “burrito masterclass” and introduction to Barburrito as a brand at their gorgeously refurbished Queen Street flagship.
My first question, of course, as I started munching my way through tortilla chips and sample-sized pots of all of the different fillings that Barburrito offers (apart from the sour cream. and beans. but I even tried the guacamole, and let me tell you: if you are into mushed-up avocado in a way in which I certainly am not you will love Barburrito’s fresh guacamole) was: why?
Turns out the answer was more of a “why not”: Pinto and Barburrito had actually merged the year before, so the rebrand was actually pretty logical. Barburrito claims to have opened the UK’s first burrito bar with its Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester restaurant back in 2005. They now have four branches in Manchester, two in Leeds and a handful more across England and Wales; while the rebrand gives them five Scottish shops, three in Glasgow and two in Edinburgh. Rumour has it Aberdeen will be getting its first Barburrito soon too (actually it’s not that much of a rumour, it’s right there on the website).
For Scottish customers, the changes mean more choice: smaller and “loaded” burritos, as well as the regular size; and a “superfood” option which replaces the rice with a crunchy slaw so that you get four of your five a day in a single burrito. Additional fillings available now include chilli and garlic mushrooms, and the one that shook me out of my old routine – spicy chorizo.
After sampling the new addition from the platter of fillings we were given to try, my fate was sealed: when the time came to get behind the counter and put together my own burrito, I knew I wouldn’t be making my usual. But first, we were given a few minutes to get the hang of spreading fillings, pinching, lifting, wrapping and rolling burritos right there at the table – though, let me tell you, it was hardly a practice for the real thing.
(Photos of me by Charlotte, obviously.)
As tasty as the one I made myself – with probably more than the minimum required help from Barburrito’s marketing manager, pictured above – was, nothing beats a burrito from the professionals. See you again on Friday, guys?
Have you been to a Barburrito? What’s your favourite filling?