I like to keep a list of potential restaurants for different areas of the metro, so that we can find good Mexican, Asian, pizza, or whatever strikes us when we are running around. One of the tips we recently received pointed us toward a small burrito restaurant at 1328 Minnesota Avenue in KCK. Burritos La Chiquita is a good example of a successful small business. Started about 9 years ago as a small walk-up window on 7th & Ohio, in downtown KCK, the popularity of the food offerings forced them to move to a larger location about 5 years ago. That is when they relocated to their current home, and they continue to see the business thrive today. I met with the owner recently, and he walked me through their business, while explaining their simple model for success.
Some of their keys to success are having a simple menu with lots of add-on options. This makes choosing an entree easy, but allows the customers to customize it on the prep table. Another key component to their success is using a good ingredients supplier. This allows the restaurant to supply the customer with a consistent product at each visit. They also have learned to be flexible, and will move the business hours around to meet the customer’s demands. They open at 6:00 in the morning to serve the early crowd, and even have a few breakfast items made up. These will usually sell out by about 9:00, so get there early if you want some. They do this Monday through Saturday every week. Since the bulk of their business is lunch based, and with the daylight hours shorter in the winter, they have recently moved their closing hour to 4:00 pm. I was fortunate to have happened by before closing. Even with the approaching end of the day, there was still a steady flow of customers getting their evening meals.
While the menu is fairly straight-forward, the flavors are very complex. I had the pleasure of tasting a few of their meats, and found that the seasonings are robust without being overpowering. The Barbacoa beef is so tender and flavorful, that I could eat it all by itself. Of course, it would be a shame not to have it with one of their locally sourced tortillas, which have a wonderful texture and flavor. I also tested the Chiccaron, which is basically pork rinds soaked in a jalapeno based green sauce. While this sounded like an odd combination to me, I found that I kept coming back for more. The owner told me that sometimes the jalapenos are too spicy, so they will cut the heat a little with beans. However they are making this, they need to keep doing it, because it works. This was certainly a new flavor combination for me, and it was an immediate hit.
After tasting a few of the base ingredients it was time to watch our meal being prepared. The process is simple and easily repeated. The center of a fresh tortilla is covered with a spoonful of beans and a good helping of the base meat. I chose one each of shredded pork and shredded beef. Now comes the time for the customization. Lettuce, cheese, tomato, pico, and more can be used as toppings. The options are plentiful, and would allow a customer to have a different flavor combination each visit. The prices at Burritos La Chiquita are extremely reasonable, so it allows guests to make this place a regular lunch option. So we see that the keys to a successful restaurant are good flavors, consistently good ingredients, plentiful options, and great customer service. I believe they have got all of that all wrapped up in a delicious tortilla. If you have ever been here, leave us a few words about your experience. Thanks.
*We may have received support from some of the businesses listed. All of the writing and opinions are our own.