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A man can be an artist in anything. Food, whatever. My art is not being able to shut my big fat idiot mouth when I discover a good place to eat. This is the story of how one man single handedly ruined his own lunch breaks.
I work in an area with very few lunch prospects. There’s a Subway, a deli and a pretty damn good food truck that’s always crowded. My lunch break requires me to branch out into the world and drive 10-15 minutes for finer cuisine.
I found this incredible burrito place by sheer dumb luck about a year ago and by my estimation, I’ve eaten lunch there at least once a week since then. It’s amazing. Each ‘rito is made to order with fajita veggies, papas fritas (that’s fried potatoes for all you gringos out there), perfectly cooked rice, melted jack cheese, and this incredible chipotle sauce that finishes the dish spectacularly.
I went there about five times before I knew I had uncovered a gem. The food was spectacular from the jump, but there was never a line, they knew me by name and even threw me an extra bag of chips every now and then. It was heaven. I ate there every day one week. Diet be damned, I ate there every stinkin’ day one week last summer. It was that good. Calories don’t count when the food is this good.
That week, I stamped my approval on (restaurant name redacted). I blew up Twitter and Facebook with my recommendations. I left five star reviews on Google, Yelp and Zomato. I went full Bri Fieri. I was on the bus to Flavor Town, out of bounds with bold flavors.
I never knew the influence I wielded until that moment. I’d get texts from friends (“Great burrito rec, McGannon!”), random Snapchats (“This place is so legit, dude”) and DMs from strangers (“I hated you until you introduced me to the greatest burrito I’ve ever eaten”)
Over the next few months, I noticed the lines getting longer by two or three people. Not a big deal. I’m a man of the people, and if the people demand high quality burritos at a reasonable price, who am I to deny them? It was still manageable. I got in and out in less than 30 minutes.
However, I did not know what I had done until about a month ago. My endless web of praise had finally reached beyond my inner circle of friends and social media footprint.
It was an 11:30 lunch kind of day. Skipped breakfast, was probably dehydrated since I was in meetings all morning, just a real nasty kind of hungry. The kind of hungry where you just want to take up an entire four-top by yourself and take out all your frustration on food. I answered an email and looked at the clock. 11:20. Close enough.
11:30 was usually off hours at (restaurant name redacted), especially on a Tuesday or Wednesday or whatever it was. The events of the day were so horrifying that I don’t even remember what the weather was like. Couldn’t tell you what clothes I was wearing or how much gas I had in my car.
I turned the corner and started looking for a parking spot, there was usually one open right in front of the building like the gods knew I was coming. Instead, my worst nightmares had come true. There was a line out the door.
After living in culinary Gardens of Eden like Kansas City, Austin and Columbia, Missouri (shoutout Steak ‘n Shake) my entire life, I learned one thing (well, I actually learned a ton of things, but that’s for another day): a line out the door of a restaurant means this place is no longer going to be in your regular rotation. It’s just not possible. Line out the door means birthday-weekend-only visits. Line out the door means an hour wait, minimum. Line out the door means some foodie blog went viral with a Facebook video. Line out the door means the Food Network making a visit can’t be too far off.
I don’t know what to do. This is intolerable! It’s all over. I had a beautiful gem of a lunch spot, where I could have spent the rest of my days getting fat and happy off of the best burritos in the world. Now, I must wait for the day when they franchise the whole thing, but with the benefits of capitalism come the insufficiencies and diminished quality of scaled product. I so feel like giving up.
On the bright side, I am now a certified Tastemaker™. A real life influencer. I could very well spin this into at least a YouTube food channel with like, I don’t know, like 200-300 subscribers. Best case scenario, I get my own Food Network show and end up being Giada DeLaurentis’s third husband. Tell me you wouldn’t take that. Tell me you wouldn’t take that life right now nine times out of 10.
So we’ll see how it goes. If you ever happen to stop by (restaurant name redacted) in the future, you let them know who sent you. Maybe if enough of you do that, maybe, just maybe, they’ll give me VIP status and I’ll get to skip you nuveau riche burrito sons of bitches who have wrecked my life and everything I care about..
If you care to find out what this place is, just search “@brianmcgannon burrito” on Twitter and you’ll be sure to find it.
Image via Shutterstock