Built on familial traditions and fresh ingredients, Crazy Good Burritos in Columbia, Missouri, lives up to its name.
The eatery opened last September, serving California-style burritos from its drive-thru window on Business Loop 70 East in what used to be a payday loan business. You would be hard-pressed to find someone with a greater passion for homemade burritos and tacos than owner Maribel Torres, and when she saw the vacant building, she also saw its potential.
It took almost a year – and a lot of work – to transform the building into the restaurant of her dreams. Project manager Blake Rave of Rave Homes helped Torres find the right architect and engineer, and Torres’ mother traveled from La Puente, California, to lend a hand before the grand opening.
“A lot of people say they love the food, and I think that’s because my mom set up a good base here,” says Torres. “I give credit to her. She helped me out a lot, even though she was here for just a few days.”
Originally, Torres planned to have a dine-in option for customers as well, but after considering the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and the trajectory of the restaurant industry, she’s decided to keep Crazy Good Burritos as a drive-thru only.
It should come as no surprise that Torres recommends a burrito filled with your choice of meat, refried beans, cheese, rice, housemade pico de gallo and sour cream to all first-time customers. It sounds simple, but all the ingredients – in the burrito and on the menu – are fresh, never canned and never frozen – a standard you can taste with every bite.
“The food is fresh, as fresh as I can make it,” says Torres. “We don’t use canned food and even though we have a freezer, we don’t use it; we save it for emergencies.”
Crazy Good Burritos doesn’t just serve burritos, though. For breakfast any time of the day, try the chicken chilaquiles – fried tortilla strips sautéed with egg and green or red sauce and topped with shredded chicken, onion, grated cheese, queso fresco and sour cream. The sope features thick masa flatbread topped with beans, onion, tomato, cabbage, cilantro, cheese and your choice of meat or vegetable, from birria to al pastor to a mix of zucchini, bell pepper and onion, while the tacos are another classic option.
Born into a large family and raised in La Puente since she was four, Torres created Crazy Good Burritos as an extension of her California roots. When she was a child, her family picked strawberries, grapes and peaches on farms in the area, but they always took Sundays off. After church, everyone would gather at her aunt’s house and spend the entire day preparing meals together. Her family’s love of cooking is part of its identity – it’s part of her identity.
“That’s one of the reasons why it came natural for me to want to open a restaurant,” says Torres, estimating that her family owns more than a thousand restaurants, many with humble beginnings. She remembers the story of her uncle, who operated a taco cart in Atlanta that later grew into a restaurant franchise. Inspired by his entrepreneurial spirit, Torres is already thinking of ways to grow her business.
“I believe that any business is like a flower,” she says. “If it doesn’t grow, it begins to die – that’s nature. So that’s where I’m headed: towards growth.”
Crazy Good Burritos’ drive-thru is currently open Monday through Friday from 6am to 7pm and Saturdays from 8am to 8pm.
Crazy Good Burritos, 815 Business Loop 70 East, Columbia, Missouri, 573.447.6232, crazygoodburritos.com