It is quite a challenge to locate great Mexican food that is kosher, delicious, and not made in Mexico. Does serving nachos and guacamole make you into a bonafide kosher Mexican establishment? Not really. Is Tex-Mex more Tex than Mex? So as the sign popped up on West Englewood, I decided it was time for me to find out more about the newest player in town, Burritolam—as in Brit Olam, and not Burrito-Lam.
Teaneck is the land of choices, if one pizza shop has a line out the door, go across the street and try another. Need to get a bite to eat after hours? There’s no need for a shwarma run to the Heights or Queens—Teaneck has late night eateries open till after midnight. Now that Burritolam has put up its sign and is ready to churn out the churos for its grand opening the day after TishaB’Av (July 17th), after nine days with no meat, there’s certain to be be a pent up demand to taste the tacos.
What can we expect? I had a moment to sit down with the owner of Burritolam, Jonathan Dorfberger, to ask a few questions:
Where did the name Burritolam come from? It must have a story behind it….
JD: My long-time friend and I have always been fond of puns. We came up with the name together.Over the past year, while in the planning stage,we did consider other names like Zman Taco, but ultimately decided on Burritolam. We thought it was funny to put the word Burrito into a Hebrew saying.
Did you consider other cuisines for the opening of your first restaurant? Why did you decide on Mexican food?
JD: I grew up non-observant in Florida and enjoyed the Latin-style cuisine available in south Florida. A lot of my friends said they loved Mexican food and could not find any authentic Mexican kosher establishments in the New York area. They mentioned Mexikosher from Los Angeles and longed for a similar establishment here. I came to Teaneck and although there are so many kosher restaurants,there seemed to be a big hole. I discussed the concept with my wife and we decided to jump in together and Burritolam was born.
Tell me a little about the menu and service
JD: I created the menu on my own and I am starting with the basic well-known Mexican dishesof tacos, burritos and fajitas. All come with a cheese substitute that is fantastic, it has a real cheddar taste. There is also a parve sour cream. We addedchimichangas (fried burritos) to the menu, which are not as well-known as the other items. I plan to offer daily specials as we open and the menu has plenty of room to grow. We will offer primarily takeout, but there is also seating for up to 44 people. No waiter service, just order and pick up your food at the counter. Party platters and catering menu will be coming soon as well.
At first glance the menu seems concise with only 24 items (not including drinks).Why so few items?
JD: Instead of doing many dishes just okay, it’s best to do a select few very well. That’s also why my menu is entirely Mexican focused(one cuisine).We will also offer free 20 ounce drink refills from the soda fountain.
Any plans for live Mexican music, perhaps an El Mariachi Band?
JD: Not for a while. I will consider live music once we are up and running and going well.
I noticed three 50”+ Flat Screens.What channel do you anticipate broadcasting, TELUMUNDO?
JD: If requested, absolutely. But for the most part we plan on having ESPN on as well as football games in the fall.
Any South of the Border Drinks? What is your Alcohol Policy?
JD: No alcohol is served, it is BYOB. I do plan to offer non-alcoholic margarita and pina-coladas in the future.
Burritolam will be opening on July 17th. Located on 166 W. Englewood Ave., Teaneck, New Jersey 07666. For menu info and hours of operation please visit: http://www.burritolam.com/
By Benjamin Cohen