I've been wanting to visit the Sweet Auburn Curb Market for years – since the lovely and knowledgable AsianCajuns clued...read more →
Update: This restaurant has moved from the location discussed here.
Okay, first off: this is not on Buford Highway. Travesty, I know. But this place was recommended us as being tasty and cheap, having large portion sizes, and coming complete with an intriguing back story. So we made an exception. And we’re glad we did.
|It’s Bell Street Burritos|
The first that that hits you in this place is the decor. Behind the counter is a huge, subway tile wall that spells out the words Bell Street. There is a gigantic antique industrial fan in the ceiling of the center area. The booths are amazingly retro. The turquoise and red combo, with faux basketweave… makes my retro-loving heart sing. Lastly, there is just all sorts of vintage signs, paintings, old portraits, and other cool old things all over the walls – including a set of teeth?! Or casts of teeth. Either way the effect is the same, haha.
|Our extremely atmospheric booth. The portrait, old lamp, slides and the seats… love. So much love.|
Anyway! Food. It’s a fairly basic menu – burritos, quesadillas, or tacos. Chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp. Free upgrades are onions, cilantro, jalapeno, and your choice of three salsas. Additional toppings are additional cost. Base price between $6.50 and $7.00, depending on your meat.
|These mamas are biiiiiiig. I should have taken a picture before attacking, but I couldn’t help myself.|
We both got pork: I got mine with green salsa, onions, cilantro, and jalapeno. Adam got it with cilantro, onions and red salsa. We also ponied up the extra $.50 apiece to have our burritos grilled. The union of the slow-cooked beans with the tender, smoky pork is mind-numbingly tasty. And the way the heat from the grill melded the cheese and rice to the inside surface of the tortilla in some unholy, melty, carb-tastic menage a trois. Oh. Em. Gee.
Our one regret was springing for the $1.95 chips and salsa. The chips were nothing special, and the salsas are actually freely available, so we pretty much gained nothing. Oh and the burritos were practically the size of my forearm, so there was no room for chips anyway.
|A larger perspective of the general area.|
So, the story I alluded to. Our friend Debbie says that once upon a time, she lived for a place called Tortillas. A shining beacon in the college food landscape, Tortillas served up cheap, delicious food in large portions. Apparently it was one of the first San Francisco-style taco joints to open in the A. The masses ate many burritos and tacos, rejoiced, and it was good. And then the guy got old and retired in 2003. And everyone was sad. (I don’t count, because I was still in high school in another county and had no idea what I was missing.)
|A close-up of our booth’s decor.|
Fast forward to 2009, and this guy named Matt Hinton decides to revive Tortillas. He actually tracks down the retired guy and buys his recipes from him. He started out small, and then got a gig in Sweet Auburn Curb Market, and now – fast forward to 2012 – there’s the standalone joint that we are talking about here. For a more complete version of the story, check out the Creative Loafing article here. I was really gratified to read this quote by Cliff Bostock, the author of said CL article: “It tasted far more like a taco from a Buford Highway taqueria than from the San Francisco-style Tortillas. I loved it.” Hells yeah – love the BuHi connection/shout-out.
TLDR: Cheap given the large portion sizes. Damn tasty. Awesome atmosphere. And we’re glad to have found it. We feel that it beats the pants off of Willy’s, Moe’s and the like. General approval. 4.5 stars.
Bell Street Burritos
1663 Howell Mill Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30318