Off the Beaten Plate: Super Burrito at Border Bandido

The 12-inch Super Burrito (with cheese sauce) at Border Bandido, 1528 W. 23rd St.

The 12-inch Super Burrito (with cheese sauce) at Border Bandido, 1528 W. 23rd St.


The 12-inch Super Burrito (with cheese sauce) at Border Bandido, 1528 W. 23rd St.

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This burrito isn’t billed as being fancy, fresh or frilly, just big. It’s soft, melty, a full 1 foot long and comes splayed across — all the way across — an oval melamine plate on a plastic tray. Choose from beef, beans or both for filling (chicken and pork cost extra) and enchilada sauce, cheese sauce, extra cheese or chili for topping.

The family owned and operated Border Bandido has been in business more than 40 years, the kind of run that often draws a cult following. A few online reviewers ream the place — blasting microwave use and cheese sauce that doesn’t seem like real cheese — but they’re outnumbered by emphatic five-star reviews. “I don't know if you can truly call yourself a Lawrencian before you've eaten your first Super Burrito,” one Yelp reviewer asserts, with another chiming in that if he were ever on death row, he’d want one for his last meal, with extra sauce and a side of chips.

Where to get it: Border Bandido, 1528 W. 23rd St.

What you’ll pay: $8.70, or $7.50 if you choose enchilada sauce instead of cheese or chili.

Try it with: A to-go box. Note that you’ll have to eat at least a third of this burrito before it will fit in said to-go box.

Also on the menu: Smaller burritos, enchiladas, taco salad, tostadas and Border Bandido’s famous taco bar.

— Off The Beaten Plate highlights some of the more exotic, oddly named or inventively concocted dishes from local menus. Know of an offbeat item we should check out? Email food and features reporter Sara Shepherd at Follow her at


Scott Tichenor 9 years, 1 month ago

Hmm, while I sort of tend to agree with the above, I have a long standing memory of being poor in the 80s and eating at one of these in Kansas City. It was positively dreadful. Probably not fair to associate one with the other but that's not an appealing photo. You eat with your eyes, too.

CRJayhawk12 9 years, 1 month ago

@bluefirebird, shoot me a link to your food blog. Your commentary is exhilarating.

This is a place I have long hoped would get some recognition for being a Lawrence landmark. Simply put, in these times of changing trends, restaurants don't stick around for 40 years if they don't know what they're doing. Mark, the owner, knows what he's doing. He makes your food the exact same way it was the last time, and the same as he made it 10 years before that.

I'd like to tell everyone to go eat there. But the fact of the matter is that it's not for everybody. Do you want to go somewhere for a fancy dinner with a few drinks? Skip it. Do you feel the need to see and be seen by the other Lawrence aristocrats? Stick to Mass St. Looking to eat healthy? Well...there's lettuce on the taco bar.

But if you're looking for a true local restaurant, a real "hidden gem" in Lawrence that isn't pretentious about its food or appearance, this is your place. And it has been for 40 years. By the time you're done with one of those burritos, you're not going to want to move. But it will have been worth it.

Last, a simple clarification regarding the microwaves: Mark makes the food right in front of you. Having worked in restaurants, I can tell you this--everything that is on the front counter has to meet the health code regulations for temperature. And go look theirs up--they're much cleaner than most of the other restaurants around. Therefore, that food could be served as-is. The microwaves are only to melt the cheese. Go in the back of any restaurant and you'll find microwaves, I promise you.

It has been my great privilege to eat here over the years and I look forward to many more. Cheers to Mark for 40 years. Go in with the right expectations and I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

flloyd 9 years, 1 month ago

I love this place. It is vegan friendly (if you desire) and the beans are made without lard, bacon grease or oil...just mashed beans and they are delicious! And, the food is not loaded with salt like Chipotle where one bean buritto with salsa has way over the RDA amount of salt.

Thanks for the great feed-bag!

thin_mint 9 years, 1 month ago

Based on this article and the comments, I am definitely going to check it out. I had no idea they have been here so long. I look forward to trying it out.

rtwngr 9 years, 1 month ago

Before it was "Border Bandido" it was "Don Chilitos". I bussed tables and washed dishes there for less than $2 per hour and all the Super Burritos you could eat back in the day. I can't eat like that anymore, though. LOL!

RogueThrill 9 years, 1 month ago

It make look plain but it's delicious. Knock it all you want, but you should give it a try. It's cheap and even if you don't like it won't be the worst thing you ever tried.

Ask for their jalapeno sauce, they make it themselves and I can't get enough of it.

Kent Noble 9 years, 1 month ago

Border Bandido Burito's with chili canceso sauce, love them!! Been eating those Burito's for 25 years still has that Awesome taste. If you never had one go try it gaurantee you will be back!

Charlie Bannister 9 years, 1 month ago

Been eating there since 1991. Love it! My wife and I have eaten at fancy restaurants and everything in between, but we just love going here. It is not pretentious and the food is delicious. It is almost unheard of in the restaurant business to stay around as long as they have. Hats off to a great little place!

Kathleen Baker 9 years, 1 month ago

I've been eating there since about 1975, when it was called Don Chilito's. Yes, we've had more "upper scale" Mexican food restaurants move in since then, but I really enjoy eating there. The food IS good, made fresh, and there's no tipping involved! I'm also glad to see them get some recognition after all these years!

riverdrifter 9 years, 1 month ago

Order the all-meat Texas burrito. Then you gotta walk two miles briskly or your cardiologist will come after you with a whip, a blank gun and a chair.

Reuben Turner 9 years, 1 month ago

well i be.... if you are just hungry and looking for some cheap food, then go to border bandido. on the other hand, if you are looking for a good favor, and something that you can't quite make in your own kitchen, go to Cielito Lindo or to the place off of 31st. Been to border bandido's twice in my life and while it was good, I wasn't too impressed. cheap? yeah! Flavorfull? Nope

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