The area around 26th Avenue and Federal Bouldevard is already the town's best neighborhood for breakfast burritos: Jack-n-Grill is serving its $2 special; across the street, you can get a legendary to-go burrito through the Santiago's drive-through, and around the corner, Araujo's Restaurant is selling a decent 99 cent breakfast burrito.
But just two blocks away, Gordo Loco has shaved a penny off that, with a 98 cent breakfast burrito. And as I discovered when I stopped by last night, that's just the start of the surprises here.
Those of us who live in the neighborhood have watched the fortunes of the historic old bungalow at 2637 West 26th Avenue with interest, sometimes dismay. Once the original home of La Loma, it's since been the site of a Chinese restaurant, a wonderful Filipino restaurant, a couple more Mexican restaurants, and the incredibly wacky International, where I once spent an amazing evening with then-Westword restaurant critic Kyle Wagner, sitting on white plastic lawn chairs -- inside -- and listening to hostess/owner Chiffon tell stories. The space's last incarnation was as a coffeehouse, but then it went dark for several years. But then a promising sign appeared, and a truck painted with the Gordo Loco logo.
Turns out building owner Joe Cornell -- he'd picked up the place at auction twenty or so years ago, he told me when I met him there last night -- was talking to brothers John and Andy Hicks about Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and about how Denver just didn't have anything over-the-top. So they decided to open Gordo Loco.
Much of the menu here definitely qualifies as over-the-top. Beyond the bargain breakfast burrito, the reconfigured kitchen (the entire space, in fact, has been gutted and rearranged) specializes in big food: big burgers (some deep-fried), big salads (if you must), big burritos. One burrito even comes with a challenge: Eat the five-pound, $15 El Diablo in fifteen minutes, and you get it for free. One guy tried yesterday, Gordo Loco's second day in business, but failed to finish. We think it was the green chile on the fries tucked into the burrito that got to him.
About that green chile: In a town filled with green chile, it's still unique -- which could be because of all the cheese melted into the mix. I experienced it stuffed into a pinata burger, but it's even better on its own.
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SHOW ME HOW
Gordo Loco opens at 6 a.m. and stays open until 9 p.m. -- which means you can go get a 98-cent breakfast burrito right now. No liquor, but it offers an assortment of fountain drinks and shakes, including an horchata version that was getting raves.
For more information, call 303-808-2217.