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An Unfortunate Burrito Union Rant

I’m a huge proponent of locally owned businesses. I feel that they generally do what they do better than their franchised competition. Because of this, I’m totally cool with paying a higher price.

I’ve been to Burrito Union probably close to a dozen times, so in no way am I staking any sort of claim, but I can count on more than one hand how many times I’ve placed an order, only to have it incorrectly made. Never anything to the point where I won’t eat it, but when I pay something like $2.25 extra for something like adobo sauce and I don’t get it, I have to ask why? Why would you forget to add a topping that costs between 20-25% of the cost of a customers burrito? Especially when its a delivery order. 

Again, this wouldn’t be such so bad if it were a one-time occurrence, but when the majority of experiences is like this, it really puts me off. I’m a real big fan of Tim and Rod’s other ventures and look forward to Tycoons, but I really hope service comes before ambiance.

75 Comments

Nick

about 3 years ago

Perhaps the ambiance consists of forgetful stoners messing up your orders?

Pat

about 3 years ago

I love burritos, and have been there are few times and been disappointed, not by the service, but by the food. It has been two years, though, and I'm thinking of giving it another try. How is the food nowadays?

j

about 3 years ago

Great beer ... the only thing I use to order there is soup ...and they don't offer that anymore ... unfortunately chipolte makes a better burrito oh and the coffee is good there too

bluenewt

about 3 years ago

The burritos are better than they used to be, Pat. If it's been two years, I'd say give it another go.

Mary

about 3 years ago

I've had some bad service at Burrito Union as well -- I think the food is OK but it needs more diversity.

Lojasmo

about 3 years ago

Beer and guacamole. Who the fuck eats adobo sauce? Pussy.

ruby2sd4y

about 3 years ago

I've had great food, but shit service overall. I have friends who will only order take-out vs. sitting there and feeling they have to pay for shit service. My daughter also recently informed me that Burrito Union is under new management, and the portions are now smaller and the prices went up? There are plenty of other places to get a burrito, and I make awesome burritos and pulled pork at home. No loss to me.

spy1

about 3 years ago

Odd, I got a wrong order just yesterday. I think the burritos are slightly better than in the past, but they had a looong way to go. And please, ruby, tell me where all these other places are.

samh

about 3 years ago

The staff may be under the influence of marijuana.

zra

about 3 years ago

They do make a mean black and tan.

What?

about 3 years ago

What the hell is so hard about making a burrito. Even a stoner ought to be able to handle taking a tortilla and roll in some beans, rice and meat. Been there many times and the food sucks and the service isn't much better. The meat is overcooked, beans and rice are dry as a bone and the wraps are steamed soggy. Tried the Union again on Saturday night and it was the same old story. The owners might want to start supplying some adult supervision.

Melanie

about 3 years ago

They have the basic theory of Mexican food, but none of the flavor. People make excuses, but yes, you can get all the ingredients to make decent Mexican food in Duluth. A curry burrito? Flavorless red chile? At least the beer is good. None of these tennis player/sexually harassing body-builder restaurants are actually good, but they appear that way due to contrast with the utter mediocrity of the average establishment in Duluth.

Shane Bauer

about 3 years ago

I had the best burrito ever there last year before the Cloud Cult show when they were up at Mitchell (November?). Only time I've ever been there - not sure why I don't get to that neighborhood more. Also not sure about these online rants about our locally owned restaurants. I have a hard time trusting these posts and always find myself questioning their intentions.

dbrewing

about 3 years ago

You had the best burrito ever and have not been back?

digit3

about 3 years ago

I'm rolling on the floor laughing, Melanie! If you had the best burrito ever at Burrito Union, Shane, you must have lived a very sheltered culinary life. I don't doubt that the portions are getting smaller. Squeezing extra money out of everything to help pay for Tycoons. The "tennis player/bodybuilder" owners are amazing in the fact that they have no apparent fear of debt. If Tycoons doesn't work well and/or if they lose a bunch of business to Canal Park Brewing (if they ever get their shit together to create such and more importantly if they get a great brewer), the whole empire could come a-tumblin' down. Those "stoner" employees and the excellent beer are the only reasons that I go to the Brewhouse. Burrito Union's food is so bad that I can't eat it and I have tried multiple times since they opened.

Endion

about 3 years ago

I loved the fajitas at Chipotle, but Little Angie's up here is different but almost better. My wife worked at Chipotle during college and got me totally addicted. Whenever we go to the cities we bring one back in a bowl with the tortilla packed separate. I've emailed them, but they have to have several stores in one location. They have them in cities a quarter of the size of Duluth, but not here for some reason. The Little Angie's fajitas have a sweet taste that makes them almost better and local. I love the bar at Burrito Union, but when they stopped letting you order like Chipotle I eventually stopped eating there. The major thing I didn't like was that the chicken is runny, where at Little or Chip it is cooked on a grill. The other thing was that there wasn't cilantro in their rice, whereas at Little A's you have it in the salsa and can mix it in and it comes in the rice at Chip. I ate there many times to support local, but Lil Ang's is local too. They also have a special on Mondays after the tourist season ends. There us are happy hour specials too that are great.... Nothing beats a Fitger's beer though. I keep praying for Chipotle up here, and I keep emailing them.

Senor Frog

about 3 years ago

Burrito Union is a nice location, the layout is cool - but the food leaves a bit to be desired. Oh yeah, when will a Chipotle get built in Duluth? Why are we light years behind Minneapolis or anyplace else for that matter with chain eating joints. But then Mickey Ds' isn't anything to write about - food tastes like crap and customer service is below the norm. Little A's is good, and so is the Hacienda. Out~

zra

about 3 years ago

Black and tans, people. (Ask for the Stuck Boat. It's on the menu.) If'n ya don't cotton to the grub, at least go for the suds.

Sinatra

about 3 years ago

Everything at Burrito Union is right except the food and service. Since that's the stock and trade of a restaurant, that ain't good. I gotta say, when I am trying to decide where to go out, Burrito Union falls off the list real quick. Last time I was there, the servers basically forgot we were there. Nicely, they comp'd some of our meal and that was a good gesture but still caused a long wait for hungry people. Good suds and a cool spot only go half the way. I don't dis the Swedish Mafia for trying, but let's get in there, guys, and put some pep in the cook's and server's step.

Mary

about 3 years ago

The Brewhouse has great food and a pretty good black-bean burrito! Burrito Union has an awesome atmosphere, great beer, some OK food -- let's not go crazy town, people.

j

about 3 years ago

I believe Burrito Union's meat is like a pizza place -- precooked, chopped up and in a bag ... or am I wrong? That's 3/4 the problem.

Claire

about 3 years ago

I love the Brewhouse and am fine with Burrito Union -- I like their quesadillas and the fish tacos. I've always had good service at Burrito Union, but I don't go there on weekend evenings, it's usually a lunch destination after a walk through Chester Park.

Iron Oregon

about 3 years ago

Burrito Union has excellent (though pricey) breakfasts too. On those mornings when a great beer sounds good, there's not many better places.

emmadogs

about 3 years ago

Burrito Union's food is god awful. But the thing of it is, there's no decent southwestern food here in town. Why is that? It can't be that difficult. I think someone could make a whole lot of $ with a great Mexican restaurant.

girlfromnorthcountry42

about 3 years ago

I'm currently on a bit of a restricted diet. Twice in the past 6 mos. I've been to Burrito Union and my attempts to modify a salad have been met with flat refusal by the waitstaff. Really people. Take some lettuce, throw it in a bowl, throw some fajita stuff on top. Leave the cheese and rice and beans off. That's it. They won't do it. Really sucks for them because I live right around the corner. If it were Chipotle I'd be there several times a week.

c-freak

about 3 years ago

Buriito Union is the new Pizza Luce.

doubledutch

about 3 years ago

Oh man, I love Burrito Union so much. I have some friends who hate it though, and I think they all eat meat. I don't. Maybe that's the difference (although I also have friends who love it and do eat meat). I've only been eaten in the restaurant a handful of times and thought service was normal, but I order delivery from there a couple of times a month. My order got messed up once (beef rather than beans), and they brought me a new burrito.

bluenewt

about 3 years ago

"I’ve only been eaten in the restaurant a handful of times and thought service was normal." I have never received this service at the BU.

Marq White

about 3 years ago

i <3 burritos!!!

me

about 3 years ago

“I’ve only been eaten in the restaurant a handful of times and thought service was normal.” Dang, maybe I should give BU another try. I'm a Chipotle fan myself...

Buck Skinner

about 3 years ago

I wonder how hard it would be to make a few simple changes to the plan there? Easier than starting from scratch for sure. Answer... Too many college kids and their parents who just don't care enough about the food to keep the owners in a place where they don't need to care, or when your 'schedule' is already booked for that week? Even with these complaints they just don't care. One time I finally left after almost 30 minutes, one guy who looked 16 when he started working there and after a year in college looks pushing 30, thought what I assumed gave me was the no service for the old single guy, climbs up onto the bar right in front of me and starts rubbing the post with a towel, his ass almost rubbing my face. All I wanted was a beer, so I go to the john, one view inside the lid, the giant redwood what was dropped by one of those people who gets pleasure from leaving their unspeakables in public places, I was out of there, so I'll still go in there once in a great while now when I feel it is the last option for a burrito in D, which it really is, the five dollar beer and taco deal after 9 suckering me in on occasion. But what good if you can't even get it when you try? We need to get old school and start posting these things on xeroxed fliers on lamp poles and in the laundry next door.

Endion

about 3 years ago

If they just flat out copied Chipotle they would do just fine and make a killing. I think for the price people expect a bit more than what BU is offering. What place has the worst wait staff in town since this has become a witch hunt? Brewhouse has improved, but they were the worst a few years ago. BU made me stop going based on what some of you are saying about them not letting you substitute. Anchor has some mean staff, but it is kind of expected. Rumor: I did hear that there are some shady characters who hang out late around the Anchor and that if you think it looks like a dive bar on the main floor you should see what lives in other spaces... I've always had great service at Little Angie's, Black Woods, Sala, Krathong, Duluth Grill, and some other local eateries.

emmadogs

about 3 years ago

Slowest waitstaff: Amazing Grace, hands down. I still love the place, though.

Endion

about 3 years ago

Buck: I am sure the powers that be check out this site often. There are multiple threads from over the years saying this same thing, but service is never a priority at any of the Brewhouse's resturants. I love the Brewhouse's fries and am addicted to the place... Much better at the bar than at the tables. Like I said though, that place has improved a lot in the service category. Is anyone else ever bugged that when you buy a growler downstairs in Fitger's there is a tip area? Do you tip, because I don't. Also, should you tip at a buffet?

Mark

about 3 years ago

Why are we light years behind Minneapolis or anyplace else for that matter with chain eating joints. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Congratulations on having absolutely no palate. All chain food is shit.

Matt

about 3 years ago

Chipotle, a chain, is not shit. It tastes ten times better than Burrito Union, and I know very few people who would say otherwise.

Rae

about 3 years ago

Chipotle is okay, but not something I crave or would ever go out of my way for. Their price point is nice, however. I think I read somewhere that Chipotle does try to use fresh local resources/ingredients that Duluth may be too far out of their delivery area to uphold that philosophy.

bluenewt

about 3 years ago

I've never had bad service at the Brewhouse. I've been impressed repeatedly by how good the service there is, even when the place is packed. I'm surprised to hear the complaints here. I've wondered aloud more than once how the Brewhouse manages to hire and hang onto such smart, personable servers.

c-freak

about 3 years ago

Chipoltle = nasty

Fred

about 3 years ago

Overly priced rice stuffed burritos, disgusting bathrooms and rude, uncaring wait help. I don't go the Union any more.

doubledutch

about 3 years ago

Oh my god. Thanks, bluenewt and 'me' for pointing out my most awesome typo of all time.

Grace

about 3 years ago

I don't know, guys. Seems to me that making a burrito the size of a football just by cramming it full of white rice does not equal "a great burrito." You're all being duped by quantity over quality when it comes to Chipotle. However, their meat does taste better than Burrito Union's. Last time I ordered delivery from Burrito Union, I ordered a 2-fister salad bowl and got about half the amount of food that was in my one-fister the time I ordered prior. And after adding the two sides of sauce I wanted (which I didn't receive at all), it cost me $16. I was so angry I almost fire-bombed the place (not really). Seriously, though, I was absolutely insulted. Rod and Tim can eat a bag of 'em if they think their price points are acceptable in this community. From now on, I'll order from Hacienda and walk over to pick it up.

Tony D.

about 3 years ago

I have had a few poor services and bad meals at the Brewhouse, but no more than at any other place I frequent. (I have had much worse elsewhere.) I have had hit and miss food at the Burrito Union, and have never -- not once -- been served what I ordered. Wrong. Every time. Every single time. I have never had a bad beer at the Brewhouse or Burrito Union. I believe the quality of a business's products and/or services can often be (and often must be) a reflection of a trickle down from the top. Look at what Steve Jobs — who could be a jerk — did with an attitude about quality of engineering and design at Apple. So perhaps in the case of a restaurant the attitudes of the owners and managers are often reflected in the work of the servers and cooks. An attitude of accepting no less than the highest quality product seems to have been passed down from brewmaster to assistant brewers, and that is working quite well for them. Mayhaps it's time to apply that attitude to the rest of the franchise.

Patty

about 3 years ago

I thought Hacienda had closed. Last time I went past, it was still closed. Has it reopened?

Mark

about 3 years ago

Ha! OK, tough guy. You eat your Chipotle. Eat Arby's for all I care. But don't complain that Duluth is "behind" for not having tons of chains. If I wanted to live in one of those shitty chain-towns, I'd move to Roseville and hang out at Chili's with a bunch of divorced guys with goatees. Luckily, I don't have to do that. I can live here and not feel the urge to put a bullet in my head every day.

B-man

about 3 years ago

Food is adequate for the price, never had it turn out terrible. The service on my last visit was so poor that I have not been back in more than a year, but have continued to order pick up. The service seemed to suffer a lack of supervision. There was plenty of staff, but a few of their peers, as customers, had the majority of them busy socializing at the bar or outside smoking instead of taking my money. I made a scene (yeah I'm that guy) and got treated rudely for complaining about the service. I got lots of respect for Mr. Nelson and I am glad he is investing in our town, I just wish he had a better service manager at Burrito Union.

carla

about 3 years ago

Hacienda is not going to re-open - at least not as Hacienda.

Fukka

about 3 years ago

The inconsistency at Burrito Union is the reason some people prefer chains like Chipotle. If you have limited funds, you don't want to be disappointed. So places like Burrito Union that frequently dole out terrible food or terrible service drive people to chains where you are pretty much just eating canned goods. The thing is, they're cheap and they're always the same. Some people are into that, mainly because of places like Burrito Union that give indie restaurants a bad name.

Bret

about 3 years ago

OK, sorry about the hijack, but what happened to Hacienda and what will it reopen as?

jay

about 3 years ago

I like Burrito Union's wings and the wiffer likes the fish tacos. I've had the jerk, buffalo and the suicidal wings and liked them all. (FYI - suicidal give a bad dose of hot butt. Exciting!)

Conrad

about 3 years ago

I have to agree with a lot of the issues on here with the food, though I don't share the issues with the service. The food is average to poor. Again, soggy burritos are no good. I want to like their breakfast burrito because it has everything I like but again, the execution is terrible. The wraps are cold, the eggs are hot, the salsa is cold. It makes for a gross experience. I haven't been there in about 8 months because of the random food experience (sometimes fine, other times terrible). I do like the salsa platter they had. That was good, with a unique salsa that switches from time to time. Also, love the atmosphere there and really want to like the place because of the feel and that it is local. I won't go back anytime soon though.

Danecdote

about 3 years ago

The service blows! I only do takeout.

carla

about 3 years ago

Not sure exactly what happened at Hacienda. But the short version is it ceased to be viable as a business.

P. Smithers

about 3 years ago

Please noooo Chipotle. I have always liked Burrito Union's food. Ding Nacho's are awesome with the pork. Wings are good (when they're warm). Fish tacos are also yummy, and I've only had a couple of salsa's over the years that I didn't care for. I think for the most part a lot of the prepping is done in-house with somewhat fresh stuff. I've been told they make all their own sauces, but I do agree that unless you shell out the extra few bucks for seasoned sour cream, guacamole or ding sauce the food is sorta bland. Which is a bummer since the food's already on the verge of being overpriced. The service has gotten a lot better since the new manager came, but it's still real spotty depending on which high-school senior or half-in-the-bag server you get (the staff always seems to be drinking behind the bar). That being said, the place has obviously got some improvements to make. Maybe the most important being a new system for getting orders to the people making food, because I have also gotten a lot of f*cked up orders. Another thing would be staff training. But I think the quality of the food is good, the menu could use some diversity once they get the rest of their shit together. The atmosphere is fun, and usually laid back even if there is a bunch of college bro's lined up on wing night, they have one of the best rails in town and some very creative bartenders.

adam

about 3 years ago

Consistently inconsistent.

Endion

about 3 years ago

Is P.Smithers the new manager, I felt like I just read an advertisement. Mark, Chipotle is great and a decent chain. I support local, but they taste too good to ignore. The chicken is grilled with adobe spices and tastes much better than the watery slop that BU tries to pass as chicken. The rest of the chains can go under, but Chipotle would be nice up here. What turned me off to BU was when they stopped letting you order like Chipotle unless you were taking out. I mean they REFUSE to let you order that way and eat there. I once pretended I was taking out and then told them I changed my mind and wanted to eat in and they got really pissed off. It was the rudest waitress I have ever seen.... Well... There was one time that was worse: At the Brewhouse abuot 3 years ago I ordered my beer and the waitress stood 6 feet away from me and talked with a friend for 35minutes. I am not exagerating, I watched the clock. When she finally came she messed up my beer order by bringing me the wrong beer, took it away all pissed and then charged it to me on the bill. It was the worst experience I ever had at any resturant. EVER. I don't see that waitress there anymore, but it still pisses me off when I think about it. 35 minutes...

-Berv

about 3 years ago

I like burritos, but hate listening to people talk about them.

j

about 3 years ago

3 years later still. Pist Pfffft smoke a joint

rhetoricguy@gmail.com

about 3 years ago

I'll just add: Chipotle is awesome. Taste is solid, consistent, and with at least an effort to use better ingredients: Secrets of America's Favorite Restaurants: Chipotle Elevates Fast Food

-Berv

about 3 years ago

+1 for -Berv

David

about 3 years ago

I work in the area and occasionally go to BU for lunch. I generally have had fine experiences at lunch there with food and service and I really love the atmosphere.

digit3

about 3 years ago

P. Smithers did sound like a Swedish Mafia (love that!) representative posting. Once again, agree with most of you who think that BU food sux. I really don't get those who like the fish tacos there. Go over to the Brewhouse and try their fish tacos. What a dichotomy if that's the correct word. +1 for the need to get some great Mexican food in town. Chipotle, though better than BU, still is overstuffed and gross IMHO. Head down to the Twin Cities and try Boca Chica, La Cucaracha, El Burrito Mercado, a la Salsa, or best yet Barrio or Masa. We just need a restauranteur to get after it. Throw some nice beers in, some fine handmade Margs, and they'd kill it.

Iron Oregon

about 3 years ago

Good lord, Endion! I'd be absolutely crazed if I had to sit for 5 minutes staring at my beer on a waitstaff's tray!

Claire

about 3 years ago

Lindo has great fish tacos and I love their shrimp tacos too. I do wonder if an OP is onto something, it does seem like most people complain about the meat used in BU's dishes. I had grilled veggies quesadillas last time I was there and they were yum.

rhetoricguy@gmail.com

about 3 years ago

Any word on Azteca, the new joint opening by the Mall?

woodtick

about 3 years ago

Longest wait for a BU beer? 12 minutes Coldest Burrito in town? BU Worst 'Mexican' joint in town? Little Maggies Bait Shop. AKA Little Angies Cantina. Surprisingly provided me with a little extra 'wriggling' protein once upon a chocolate 'Turtle' desert. Seems to have survived fine without my patronage since 1999 though.

Endion

about 3 years ago

Iron: I was sitting at the table waiting for her to put the order in. I should have said something, but I thought her conversation would end as soon as I walked up there and grabbed a beer myself. Then someone makes fun of me for remembering it and another person says they haven't went to Lil Ang's since 1999 because of bad service. I just think that Lil Ang is the closest thing to a Chipotle fajita burrito. Can't speak for anything else there... Except the Salsa.

zra

about 3 years ago

Little Angie's has the best entree sysco can provide.

B_Maddox

about 3 years ago

Looks like I'm in the minority here, but I think the Burrito Union is just fine. Is it the best food in the area? Certainly not. Yet it's still appealing for those who want a pretty big and tasty burrito, and the night-time specials are a good deal. Here's a suggestion, though: I think they should take the ingredients and stir them around in a bowl quickly before loading the tortilla. Too often, the burritos seem to have "zones." The rice zone. The meat zone. The bean zone. If they gave it a quick mix-up, this could be avoided.

woodtick

about 3 years ago

@endion - My 'wriggling' comment refered to the presence of more than a few larvae squirming around in my pecan cluster. The anthropologist in me had no problem with that. The rest of me did.

Steven

about 3 years ago

I used to love the place, but over the past 16 months (give or take) I felt that the quality was going downhill. Until I read this chain of comments, I thought it was just me. One of my friends asked why I don't ever go there anymore, and I thought because the food just isn't that good anymore. Too bad, because it seemed like a great place. I hate to support chains, but when they can provide equal or better service, food, and price, you end up going to what makes the most sense. If they could raise the bar (just a little bit!) they would probably win back a lot of customers.

P. Smithers

about 3 years ago

How did a thread about a food rant turn into attacks against everybody... geesh! I am in no way endorsed, or employed for that matter, by Burrito Union. My roommate use to work there though. I also went to school for management so I'm sort of ingrained to analyze why their service blows so much ... with the largest complaints seeming to be about their timeliness and accuracy. In the end, I know at least a few of the staff by name, so if something sucks I'm not afraid to tell them so. I do agree they have some loose ends to tie up before they could be considered one of the better places for a casual bite to eat in town, compared to Brewhouse, Luce, etc.

chiefly

about 3 years ago

I've always had decent food and service at BU. Not the best food in the world, but not that bad. I've enjoyed sitting on their back deck on a nice day overlooking the lake, quaffing a brew and fighting off the hornets. Now that's one problem I've had with the place. Hornets in the glass when you're not paying attention is a major bummer. The service has always been about the same as any other similar type place in town -- bad or good depending on your server. I've never had a problem there. I'm wondering if some of the real negative comments are coming from a personal axe grinding place.

rhetoricguy@gmail.com

about 3 years ago

No axe here. I am a huge Brewhouse fan. Just not a BU fan.

in.dog.neato

about 3 years ago

Stuck. Boat. Really.

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