When Pepe Urquijo got to New York City in 2009 he couldn’t find a good burrito anywhere. That’s not to say that there weren’t edible burritos, but Pepe’s palate had been honed in the streets of San Francisco’s Mission District, widely considered the burrito capital of the world. “I noticed as soon as I got here that there was something missing from some of the food that was being offered,” says Pepe. “Very specifically, I couldn’t find a burrito like the ones I’d become accustomed to enjoying back home.” They do things a little differently over in The Mission, and it’s those special touches that make or break the whole experience. Pepe knew something had to change. And he knew he had to be that change.

The total dearth of great burritos called Pepe to start B’klyn Burro, a roaming pop-up burrito spot that has been showing up in unique locations all over Brooklyn for the last couple years. Whether Pepe’s hocking burritos in the back corner of a bar, or offering some wildly stuffed burritos at high end food courts: people show up. He’s built a fan base all over New York City. And for good reason.

When Pepe makes you a burrito at B’klyn Burro, he starts by throwing the tortilla on the grill to crisp up the flour before laying the fillings in for you. That’s the way it’s done in The Mission, along with using super fresh ingredients, and only slices of avocado (they don’t waste time with that watered down concoction the uninitiated call “guac”). Pepe’s relationship with food was born in The Mission and every bite of a burrito made in that style is a transportative experience for him. B’klyn Burro was created to bring that voyage to everyone else. Whether it’s the first time experiencing a burrito like the ones Pepe grew up with, or a pitch perfect trip down memory lane, Pepe knows that he’s at the helm of an awesome journey; one that’s going to take place between the folds of aluminum foil. “We want to save our customers the round trip airfare of going all the way to San Francisco when you can do it via an aluminum wrapped bundle of joy.” Instead of riding in a metal torpedo to the other coast, what’s inside this metal wrapper will bring you there in spirit.

Becoming the ambassador for a whole different way of eating isn’t a small task, and something that he wasn’t going to take lightly, especially as he prepares to open B’klyn Burro’s first permanent location. But Pepe’s focus has got to be the food, it’s got to be about making an incredible meal and making his customers feel at home in his shop. B’klyn Burro is small enough of an organization that when you step into the shop it’s likely Pepe who is going to create your meal for you. At the end of the day, it’s more important for him to focus on what he’s doing in the kitchen than focus on what he’d need to do to satisfy a mega bank. He partnered with Bond Street because he had already put himself on the line in so many other aspects of building his company and his brand, he couldn’t afford to wait another six months to hear back if a bank was ready to make a commitment to him. “It was really important because when you’re about to sign a lease you’re putting all your cards on the table,” explains Pepe. Starting a business is an incredibly intimate and exposing process, but Bond Street allowed Pepe to feel secure, get his location locked down quickly, and get moving on what really matters: the food.

There may be a lack of amazing burritos in New York, but New Yorkers have discerning palates and Pepe knows that he’s going to convince all of us that his way is the right way. “You know what a good burrito tastes like,” Pepe says. “But ours are just better. Everything we do is fresh, we don’t have a can opener in the kitchen, so you know that what you’re getting is made on the spot. There’s definitely a personal touch.” After years of hopping around the borough of Brooklyn finding his customers, now his customers are going to be able to find him. And now we can finally get a burrito that’s made The Mission way. The right way.

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