In Mexico, a “burrito” is a little burro, or little donkey.
In the San Juans, a burrito is a different type of delivery-vehicle. It is a conveyance for Mexican flavors, typically involving beans of some sort, melted cheese, some salsa, or perhaps green chile, all swaddled in a flour tortilla.
We can argue all day about the perfect burrito. “To talk about burritos is to charge down a road lined with IEDs, every bump potentially the charge that is going to send you flying into a ditch, every screeching curve potentially your last,” the food critic Jonathan Gold has written. “Tell me what kind of burrito you like and I will tell you who you are, but tell me what kind of burrito you really think I should like and I start looking for the next escape route out of town.”
I’m not about to tell you what you should like, but I am here to offer a single, incontrovertible Burrito Truth (as opposed to Burrito Speciousness, or BS): A burrito is supposed to be eaten out-of-hand.
This sets it apart from enchiladas, another form of stuffed tortilla, typically corn, which is usually smothered in sauce of red or green chile.
And it brings us to the problem of burritos: although delicious, and meant (unless smothered) to be consumed on the go, they can be mushy and oozy. All that molten cheese, those weeping beans, that increasingly soggy tortilla: Unless you are enjoying your treat at a table, napkin at the ready, how do you manage it all?
I’ll tell you how you do it: you order it from a place that serves it straight from a griddle. There is only one place I know of in this region that does this, and it has become a favorite — such a favorite, in fact, that my husband and I not only try to swing by whenever we’re in Montrose, we find ourselves leaving early enough from Ridgway so we don’t miss it when it closes, and barreling straight to Sunrise Burritos as soon as we hit town.
It’s easier to time it right than before. As its name implies, Sunrise Burritos — a kiosk in the parking lot of Camelot Gardens, at 16612 S. Townsend Ave. — used to be mostly a breakfast place. But in January, it expanded its hours, and now stays open until 2 p.m.
They serve one thing here, and they do it well. Burritos come filled with eggs, cheese, potatoes, bacon or sausage, and a choice of hot or mild green chile.
That is it. That is all you need.
The burritos are prepared to order (and quickly too) on a griddle, which results not only in a highly portable meal but a pretty-much-ideal bite: crunchy, chewy, toasty exterior giving way to creamy cheese, black beans, shredded potato, bits of scrambled egg, and hints of bacon or sausage.
Yes, hints: no single flavor takes precedence here, nor does any one texture. You could say all these ingredients, or the beef in red sauce, which is available as a lunch special beginning at noon, are merely a delivery vehicle for owner Levi Trembly’s true specialty: Hatch Green chile. He’s a native of New Mexico, who started Sunrise Burritos last summer simply because, as he explained to the Montrose Daily Press a year ago, he’d gotten tired of searching for breakfast options featuring hot green chile.
“There is no plan for a grand opening,” the newspaper said.
There was no need for one. Twelve months on, the food still does the talking, with a little help from Sunrise’s customers. The restaurant — well, the kiosk — gets five out of five stars on Yelp, on Google and (as you might expect) its Facebook page. As a Yelp reviewer put it: “Had the ‘half-and-half’ sausage burritos. The combination of spicy-and-mild green chiles, egg, sausage, cheese and potatoes was perfect … and the homie hooked us up even though we were there 20 minutes after closing! Will be back many times!”
Sunrise Burritos serves coffee as well as burritos, and can make a gluten-free option (a burrito-in-a-bowl, served with corn tortillas). It is open Monday-Friday from 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m., and Saturday from 7:30 a.m.-noon.