Menu Please: Burrito Bandito is Fast Mex That Tastes Good, Too

It took Femme de Joie a long time to catch on to Burrito Bandito. For one thing, she didn’t have much reason to go out to Airport Road in Redding, where they started at the original location. For another, she didn’t really relish the thought of driving all the way out there to be caught in the lunch rush at a place that catered only to the folks who worked out there and didn’t have any choice: how good could it be? Then circumstances caused her to be out on Airport Road one day with a group of people who already knew about Burrito Bandito.

When they walked in, M. de Joie winced at the long lines and figured they might all be there until dinnertime, but such was not the case. Those guys behind the counter were friendly but speedy, and in a very few minutes the line was hacked down to size. M. de Joie entertained herself during the brief wait by reading the hot sauce bottles on display – how can you not love a bottle of Jump Up and Kiss Me, Hula Girl, or Scorned Woman?

M. de Joie was very pleasantly surprised at how much food was dished up for a modest price, and delighted at how great the burrito tasted, made to her specifications and packed full of fresh toppings. She was even more pleased when a few years after that initial lunch, Burrito Bandito opened a branch in the Holiday Market Shopping Center at Placer and Buenaventura – much closer to downtown than Airport Road (since joined by branches in Anderson and Red Bluff). The Holiday location is small inside, with a few tables and counter seating along the window; on nice days you can take your order outside to a table on the sidewalk.

Chile verde burrito, $7.25

Burritos are, of course, their signature dish, and they’re the most bang for your buck. Choose from machaca (shredded beef), carne asada, chile verde, chicken, or vegetarian/vegan beans, have the counterman add toppings to taste, grab a cold drink from the cooler and some salsa, and have a seat. Good luck trying to eat this with the plastic fork they give you.

One pork taco and one chicken taco, $3.25 each

For smaller appetites, the tacos are a good bet: same drill as the burrito (choose meat or beans and then tell the friendly counterman exactly what you want to top it with). Warning: these get soggy and fall apart if you don’t eat them promptly, and Femme de Joie has the salsa drippings down her blouse to prove it.

Vegetarian bowl, $7.25

A nice change from tacos, burritos, and quesadillas is the bowl: a salad made with your choice of meat or beans with loads of toppings. Though M. de Joie loves her a good burrito, she likes the bowls the best out of all the offerings at Burrito Bandito.

If Femme de Joie has any complaints, it’s that after a while everything from Burrito Bandito starts to taste the same, which is probably because she’s a “Put everything on it” gal, and everything is always the same. To avoid getting bored, now and then she’ll skip the onions or the rice and ask for extra cilantro and lime, or some other variation.

M. de Joie likes the value for money, fresh ingredients, fast & friendly service, and tasty burritos, all served up by a local business. To be sure, Burrito Bandito is fast food, but there’s not a Golden Arch in sight here. It’s not authentic Mexican either; it’s more of a California twist on healthy Mex with a little fast-food-to-go thrown in. If you haven’t stopped by already, give them a try.

Burrito Bandito, 8939 Airport Road, Redding, 222-6240, fax 222-6639; 3365 Placer Street in the Holiday Shopping Center, 229-9068, fax 229-9079; 2805 E. Center Street, Anderson, 378-1400, fax 378-1500; 525 Adobe Road, Red Bluff, 528-8226, fax 527-6074. Cash, cards; no checks. Call for opening times (may vary between locations). Vegetarian and vegan choices. Website and fax order form at juanmeanburrito.com.


View Northern California Burrito Bandito Locations in a larger map.

Femme de Joie’s first culinary masterpiece was at age 4, when she made the perfect fried bologna sandwich on white bread. Since then she has dined on horse Bourguignon in France, stir-fried eel in London, and mystery meat in her college cafeteria, but firmly draws the line at eating rattlesnake, peppermint and Hamburger Helper. She lives in Shasta County at her country estate, Butterscotch Acres West. She is nearly always hungry. Visit MenuPlease for more or send her an email at femmedejoiefood@yahoo.com.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

Femme de Joie
Femme de Joie's first culinary masterpiece was at age 4, when she made the perfect fried bologna sandwich on white bread. Since then she has dined on horse Bourguignon in France, stir-fried eel in London, and mystery meat in her college cafeteria, but firmly draws the line at eating rattlesnake, peppermint and Hamburger Helper. She lives in Shasta County at her country estate, Butterscotch Acres West. She is nearly always hungry. Visit MenuPlease for more or send her an email at femmedejoiefood@yahoo.com.
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20 Responses

  1. Avatar Canda says:

    I agree, Burito Bandito is one of our favorite places for good, fresh, fast, and affordable food. The Anderson store is closest to us, and they have plenty of seating in a bright and cheerful atmosphere. This is definitely a place to check out if you haven't already done so.

  2. Avatar Larry says:

    like them for a quick "I can't decide what to eat" meal.

  3. Avatar Joe says:

    Why no mention of their famous breakfast burritos at the Airport Rd. location? Steak and scrambled eggs, chorizo and scrambled eggs, linguisa and ham are some of the morning offerings along with freshly scooped avocado, salsa…the list goes on!

    I've had more a.m. burritos than p.m. Definitely worth the early trip!

    • Femme de Joie Femme de Joie says:

      Dear Joe,

      They have breakfast burritos? Thank you for the tip!

      Cordially,

      Femme de Joie

  4. Avatar amber asaro says:

    Mmm, I miss the Bandito! Perhaps not authentic, and not turn and burn heat lamp fast-food…but always good. I haven't found a favorite burrito place in Portland yet. Any suggestions anybody?

    • Avatar Joe says:

      This place looks good. "Bunk Sandwiches" in PDX.

      Maybe go there and have a sandwich and ask them about a good burrito joint.

  5. Avatar EasternShastaCounty says:

    The burrito bowl is way more than I can eat in one sitting, and microwaving the whole dish later is unsatisfactory — limp cabbage, yukky avocado, mushy tomatoes — so I asked the chap behind the counter to put the beans, meat, and cheese in one bowl and the vegetation in another . I think I had to pay a bit more, but it was worth it for a burrito bowl the second time around as good as the first time.

  6. Avatar Gamerjohn says:

    These are good burritos. I like them and Senor Rosas best of the local tries. They are as authenic as the ones in the Mission District of San Francisco. I am a big guy and one is much more than I comfortably eat at once.

  7. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    I love Burito Bandito. A burrito is enough food for two meals. Everything is fresh…and you can have what ever you desire on you selection. The folks working for this business are all quick, friendly and engaged. Great article!

  8. Avatar Rick Saunders says:

    Another great restaurant review Femme de Joie! Menu Please is one of my favorite features on A News Cafe

  9. Avatar Matt Grigsby says:

    It's good to see this place getting the credit it deserves. I've never had a bad meal at any of their locations, and I've really come to love the burrito bowl best. It's easier to eat and you can skip the calories of the tortilla. Burrito Bandito deserves to be a huge success.

  10. Avatar Josh says:

    I love Burrito Bandito. With that being said, I haven't been back since I discovered the CA burrito at Taco Barn in the Raley's shopping center on Hartnell. And if a burrito with french fries in it isn't your thing then try their fish tacos. (I am not affiliated with Taco Barn in any way, just a huge fan)

    • Femme de Joie Femme de Joie says:

      Dear Josh,

      Interesting that you should post this… look for a review of Taco Barn in the next couple of months!

      Thanks for reading,

      Femme de Joie

  11. Avatar Donna says:

    LOVE Burrito Bandito!! We go to the Placer St. one quite ofter. I may have to go to the Airport Road location some morning to try the breakfast burrito. It's way out of my way, but I can probably come up with a reason to be over there in the AM.

  12. Avatar Bea says:

    I like the freshness of the food, but at the Placer St. place, someone is heavy handed with the salt. Or maybe I'm just overly sensitive to the salt taste?

    • Avatar Kelly says:

      I would agree. I love their food, but it is more salty than it needs to be. You notice it more with the burrito bowl than the burrito because there is no tortilla.

  13. Avatar SmarterThanHeLooks says:

    When Burrito Bandito opened, my wife and I immediately became fans. We feared that they would never make it on their Airport Road location.

    Granted, Burrito Bandito's offerings aren't representative of standard Mexican fare, but I still cringe a bit when I see the word "authentic" used in the review of a Mexican food establishment. Mexico has several distinct cuisines; what's authentic in Guadalajara ain't authentic in a town on the Bay of Campeche. Likewise, here in the U.S., residents of San Diego, Santa Fe, and San Antonio would likely disagree with each other as to what constitutes "authentic" Mexican food.

    Burrito Bandito offers good Mexican food. To heck with authentic.

    • Femme de Joie Femme de Joie says:

      Dear SmarterThanHeLooks,

      So, so true. Truly authentic Mexican food would likely be rejected in most of America, but California and the Southwestern states have excelled in adapting the flavors to more familiar foods. It's only a matter of time before some of the more "exotic" ingredients become available here.

      Remember when Taco Bell opened in the mid-60s and people were nervous about trying taco sauce, burritos and frijoles? As our palates become more experienced, we'll search out new tastes and embrace what we once thought of as too weird to try.

      Thanks for reading,

      Femme de Joie

  14. Dugan Barr Dugan Barr says:

    Finally. I review of restaurant that is done by this nice person with which I can agree without reservation. If you need lunch at your desk, get the burrito in the bowl so you do not get it all over whatever has you chained to your desk.

    This is good chow.

  15. Femme de Joie Femme de Joie says:

    Oh Dugan, you old smoothie. Perhaps we have more in common than you think.

    Affectionately yours,

    Femme de Joie