Budget Beat

Lunch $10 and Under at Rito's Burritos

For years those in the know have flocked to Rito's Mexican Food in the Garfield neighborhood just east of downtown Phoenix. And now Westside fans of the tasty Mexican food take-out joint can indulge, sans the drive.

Much like its famous sister shop, Rito's Burrito's, doesn't offer much as far as dining atmosphere goes. There are a few "no outside drinks" signs taped to the white walls, the entire length of the counter is behind bars and there are maybe a dozen tiny booths, but hey, most people just grab-n-go.

What this dining spot lacks in ambience it more than makes up for in the quality of its dishes. We ordered a guacamole taco ($3), cheese enchiladas ($5), a deep-fried green burrito ($5.55) and a side of their famous molten refried beans ($1.50). Yes, we went with friends.

Honestly, it's hard to decide what was best. Every dish was so flavorful and spicy that we kind of wanted to slap ourselves silly just to bring us back to reality. It was really that good. Now, we don't want to know how many calories or grams of fat are in any of the items we ate, but really, we didn't care.

The taco was filled with succulent and seasoned shredded beef and topped with an ample amount of guacamole, along with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. The shell was freshly made and crunchy.

We've tried countless cheese enchiladas across town, but hands down, these are the favorite. The red sauce is so good it made us want to cry. It's spicy hot, the consistency is smooth and you just want to grab a spoon and eat up every bit of it.

Finally, the green chili ... oh the green chili. There have been many legends about Rito's green chili and all of them are true ... it's damn good. We went a little overboard and got our burrito deep-fried and we were glad we did. The flakey fried crunch of the tortilla paired well with the spiciness of the chili.

We don't even want to know what exactly goes into making Rita's famous molten beans ... lard, some sort of fat drippings, who knows ... all we know is that, seriously you'll want to drink them up with a straw, after they cool of course. They are the consistency of a creamy, cheesy soup and they are delicious.

Being this good, Rito's Burritos, located at 51st and Orangewood avenues in Glendale, can afford to be a little lax with their hours. They are open 10 a.m.-"ish"-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m.-"ish"-5 p.m. on Saturdays, but it's always a good bet to call ahead, (623) 939-3001, because this family-owned business sometimes closes up shop early just because they can and do. Also, they only accept cash, so stop at an ATM before you go.

What's funny though is that no one seems to mind. There's always a line and everyone there is friendly as can be. And besides, with food this tasty, we will take it when we can get it.

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Theresa Cano
Contact: Theresa Cano