From a small, dark space to a bigger, brighter one, Burrito Brothers in Jupiter has gone from cult status to full-fledged eatery.
The restaurant took over the space once occupied by Sonny's Real Pit BBQ, and one thing still remains from the former occupants: the BBQ smell, which emanates into the parking lot and invites you inside.
The decor is in pale woods and light blues, plus big-screen TVs, surfboards, huge model planes and beer sign ads. Think coastal chic meets surfer dude. The menu features most of what made the original Burrito Brothers great, plus some barbecue and ethnic additions.
Southwestern egg rolls, now a staple on many sports bar menus, are filled with chipotle-grilled chicken, corn and black beans, served on a bed of mixed greens and topped with a slightly sweet avocado ranch dressing. A good and filling appetizer, and eating the mixed greens with a bit of the dressing makes it feel healthier. And the black bean soup, another healthy starter, is good but even better with a spoonful of the house-made pico del gallo. They make their own very addictive chips, salsa and guacamole, and if you order a basket of these, you may not want anything else. Tacos, burritos, bowls and salads can contain your choice of pork carnitas, Korean beef, blackened fish, citrus-grilled chicken or even a vegetarian mix. And if a taco or burrito can't contain your choice, you can have your meats on a bun. On the American side, try a meatloaf burger, square-cut sliced on a round bun. The meatloaf texture is neither too firm nor too soft; it holds together until you finish it - assuming you can finish, since there are either classic or sweet potato fries to go with it. And the smoker is still at work, offering barbecued chicken, ribs, brisket and even meatloaf.
A Burrito Brothers policy involving toppings is one more restaurants should follow. Fifteen toppings - from tomatillo salsa and pineapple pico to black beans, sour cream and lettuce - are free. And you have a choice of seating: quick service (go up to the counter, order, pick up and be seated), regular seating with table service or your own comfy couch (also known as takeout.)
Prices are higher than fast food, but quality ingredients like these aren't even close to fast food territory. Appetizers are $3.50 to $7, burritos, tacos, rice bowls, salads, and burgers are $7 to $10, specialty platters $9 to $13 and barbecue platters $11 to $17. Service is fast, friendly and servers are eager to explain the menu, ingredients and encourage you to try something new (that's how the black bean soup/pico de gallo combo came to be).
Sometimes, bigger isn't better. For Burrito Brothers, bigger meant barbecue and a broader menu. And it is better.
Burrito Brothers, 1150 West Indiantown Road, Jupiter, FL. Phone (561) 747-8221. Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Additional location: 9920 Alternate A1A, Suite 803, Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Phone (561) 627-3277.