THE PLACE: Speedy Burritos, although it opened only a decade or so ago, feels like it’s been on Wells Avenue forever, and I mean that in a good way.
Its wooden cladding, contrasting corrugated overhang and small terrace enclosed by a fence set Speedy Burritos apart from the strip malls and storefronts that populate the avenue. The restaurant already has become a Wells icon.
Address: 1420 S. Wells Ave.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday
On the web:www.speedyburritosreno.com
What’s $10 or less: Nearly everything
THE LOOK: A lot of the orders at Speedy Burritos are to-go, and the order counter faced in colored tile runs much of the restaurant. A partition atop the counter is set with tempting food shots like chile verde and a pupusa combo and tamales No. 3.
The main menu is placed, look-up style, above the open kitchen where you can watch your burrito (or what have you) being prepared. The dining room features a handful of tables, a salsa bar and — look up again — a mural high on the Wells Avenue side.
THE MEAL: The other afternoon, I’m one of the to-go folks. In the spirit of Speedy Burritos, I make my mind up quickly: a large pastor burrito and a chicken torta. On each, hold the guacamole (I think I’m the only person I know who doesn’t like avocados).
Back at the office (a 5-minute drive), I ready my lovelies for lunch.
The burrito (not merely large, but monstrous) features smoky chunks of pastor, crisp at the edges, with flecks of sweetness and spice from the marinade. This is the best pastor I’ve had recently.
The torta is filled with shredded chicken, nicely seasoned from the grill. Juices from the chicken and smears of crema soften the roll, making the sandwich a little messy-fun. Sliced jalapeños snap the torta back in place.
KUDOS: Beyond the food, the staff (many of them family) is exceedingly friendly. Smiles go a long way.
QUIBBLES: Not exactly a quibble, but I find it way, way, way too easy to polish off the large burrito — and speedily at that.
ALTERNATIVES: The menu is extensive for a fast-casual spot. Options range from pupusas (including loroco) to vegetable burritos to build-your-own combination plates, from huevos rancheros (among the breakfast offerings) to quesadillas to grilled chicken.
RETURN TRIP?: Huevos rancheros are my next point of attack. But I’m not going to get them to-go.