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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Green Burrito - Review #1

Date of Visit: November 23, 2007
Green Burrito
911 W Whittier Blvd
La Habra, CA 90631
(562) 690-2813

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Oops, made a booboo last night. I added the pictures in for this entry and intended to save it as a draft before adding my writeup and then publishing it but this morning realized I had published it to the web with nothing but the photos. So, for the people that may have seen this entry when there was just pictures, that's the explanation. And now I'll try to add more about Green Burrito.

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According to Wikipedia, "Green Burrito was an independent restaurant in Hawaiian Gardens, California. Ruben Rodriguez purchased it in 1980, and turned it into a chain, whose parent company Santa Barbara Restaurant Group was acquired by CKE in 2001. CKE's policy has been to add Green Burrito dual-branding to many of its Carl's Jr. hamburger restaurants, thereby adding a Mexican menu. Many original Green Burrito franchises have closed; in 2004, there were only 35 remaining, while 200 Carl's Jr. restaurants have a Green Burrito co-brand." As of late 2007 there are only two Green Burritos remaining in Orange County that are not co-branded with a Carl's Jr., the one in Cypress (which I think is probably the original one) and the one in La Habra (the one reviewed in this entry).

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I first found out about Green Burrito in the early 1990's when one opened up in Fountain Valley on the stretch of Brookhurst my brothers and I affectionately referred to over the years as "Fast Food Heaven" (on the southwest corner of Brookhurst and Garfield). That location lasted a few years during which I made quite a few trips to it to get their food that seemed like a good hybrid between fast food and mom-and-pop, hole-in-the-wall Mexican food. When the Green Burrito chain got bought up by Carl Karcher Enterprises the Fountain Valley location shut down and is now a Hawaiian fast food restaurant.

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One of the things I always saw at the Fountain Valley Green Burrito was the poster of the 130 lb., 5'9" girl who pulled off the amazing feat of eating three Big Ed Burritos (that's over seven pounds worth of food) in one sitting . . . twice, and who got $1,300 her for her accomplishment. Apparently nobody has beat her because that same poster is still hanging in the La Habra location:

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Another interesting bit of related fast food trivia is that a few years ago CKE also bought up the mid-West fast food chain known as Hardee's, slapped their Happy Star logo onto Hardee's, then co-branded some of the Hardee's locations with a Mexican food identity, but it's not Green Burrito; it's . . . drum roll, please . . . Red Burrito.

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I ordered a chile relleno and enchilada platter that had lots of cheese, pasty refried beans, a small mound of rice, and a small helping of salad. The chile relleno was the flattest I've ever had but didn't taste bad. The enchilada had more stuffing in it and at least they had escabeche at their salsa bar.

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In the fast food realm Green Burrito earns a 4.25 Speedy Gonzales rating:

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Image hosting courtesy of
Mark Whisenand has sent us this picture of a very early Green Burrito ashtray:
Green Burrito Ashtray

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

(en)
Hi everyone,

This article is very interesting.
You can find the whole list of international Burger King fast-foods restaurants at http://www.fast-foods-restaurants.com/ .
More informations on this website.

Best regards

Jephyr said...

I ived in Glendale CA and remember eating at a Green Burrito on Colorado.

They had the contest winner sign there too...and I've been looking for info about it on the internet. Thanks for providing it here.

I think after the owner paid out 1,300...he no longer made the challenge. : )

Sadly...IMO Green Burrito food is not nearly as good now at Carl's Jr.

ChristianZ said...

Thanks for the comment. I think what they serve at Carl's Jr. is their version of Mexican food with the Green Burrito name on it.

Anonymous said...

I used to live down the street from the first Green Burrito, on Carson Street, in Hawaiian Gardens, not Cypress. Sadly, there are almost no real Green Burritos left. The Carl's Jr ones don't serve the Big Ed, their signature burrito. Even worse, when you go there in the morning, try ordering a breakfast burrito. You wont get the great burritos that I enjoyed in the past, you get a tiny little "Carls Jr" breakfast burrito that should be on the 99 cents menu and they tell you that the Green Burrito menu is not available till after 10am. Pathetic.

David- Artesia High School, Class of 85

Anonymous said...

There are a few original green burrito stores left one in Long Beach on Spring Street just east of Palo Verde and in cypress off Ball and Valley View both still have the Big Ed and original offerings

Arango said...

i sometimes eat the big ed at an arbys/green burrito on atlantic ave in the bixby knolls part of long beach. i have not been to the original GB but will have to make a trek over to hawaiian gardens to try it out sometime. the one on atlantic seems great, it is my favorite big burrito around (until the next morning)

Anonymous said...

The Original Green Burrito #1 in La Puente Ca. No longer in business. 1966-1990 R I P The name came from the quality green chile burritos. Nobody makes them like the Campos Family did. It was always fresh green chile. The Green Burrito today is fast food. It's an over priced Del Taco.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about the first Green Burrito being in Hawaiian Gardens. In 1964 we use to eat at a stand call Charlie's which later became the first "Green Burrito". It was on Whittier Blvd. & Rosemead in Pico-Rivera. Later they built one on Greenleaf in Whittier and later in Downey. These had n connection to Carl's what so ever!

ChristianZ said...

You could be right. I've been trying to solve this mystery for a while.

Jesse J said...

Oh, how I loved Green Burrito and their Big Ed and their Nachos. What Carl's Jr. has is nothing like it, and the Green Burrito I went to as a kid has closed. It's quite sad.

ChristianZ said...

Thanks for the comment. Have you been to the La Habra location?

Mark Whisenand said...

I keep seeing all these different areas saying that's where the original Green Burrito started.
The original green burrito was not in Hawaiian Gardens.
The original Green Burrito was opened in the mid 60's on Hacienda Blvd in La Puente Ca, as a small stand.
The family later closed the stand and moved the business from the small stand, into a full sit down restaurant, next door on the corner of Hacienda,Unruh & Fairgrove. The address of the full size sit down restaurant was 1169 N. Hacienda Blvd
La Puente, CA 91744.
If you go to Google maps and enter the address, and go to street view, you can see both the restaurant and the original Green Burrito stand.
The original stand is now called Boca Del Rio, where you can get some really good mexican food.
The Green Burrito sit down restaurant is now called Burger Depot.
There was a family squabble and some of the family got together and sold the Green Burrito name to Carls Jr, without compensating the original owners.
The original owners have passed away, but their children can still be found sometimes on a Facebook page called "You know your from La Puente when...."

ChristianZ said...

Thanks for the story. I actually like when people fill me in on these details so I can get things right. Based on what you told me I made a link here to the Street View of that La Puente address.

Mark Whisenand said...

ChristianZ, I wish there was a way for me to upload a picture to this thread about the original Green burrito.
I have an ashtray that I took from the sit down restaurant that opened next to the original Green Burrito stand.
The ashtray is green and white, made of tin, and has the Green Burrito logo.
It has a little sign printed on the ashtray in the same shape as the Burger (original Green Burrito sign) Depot sign.
Under the words "THE GREEN", is a picture of a little burro and the words "Number #1" on a little ribbon.
Let me know if you have a way I can send the picture of the ashtray to you, for posting on this thread.

ChristianZ said...

Thanks. You can e-mail it to reviews@ocmexfood.com.