El Burron

Review by: Michael Stern

Bordertown Treasure

Locals love El Burron, a forlorn Arizona bordertown cafe at the fringe of Douglas, Arizona, just a few miles from the Mexican border. They come because they can eat native food served in large portions at low prices.

If You Must Eat A Hamburger…

Actually, the tipster who directed us to El Burron said we should come for the hamburger. I tried it (with cheese, please) and thought it was perfectly alright but nothing to write home about. Bright orange cheese tops a modest-size, cooked-through patty on a plain ol’ bun with standard-issue French fries. If burgers were all El Burron served, I would not put it on my list of notable Douglas eateries.

Big Burros

But burgers don’t matter all that much on a bordertown cafe menu that includes first-rate tacos and quesadillas as well as burros sized from large to gigantic. In fact, the size scale reads as follows: burro, big burro, burro macho, and burron. We saw the biggest of them come from the kitchen, and it looked like enough food to feed a family. So we went for the burro macho. They wrap a broad flour tortilla around what seems to be a pound or more of carne asada. In this grilled, shredded beef, they turn the concept of well-done on its head. Somehow, it becomes glorious, juice-dripping succulence.


Carne adobada (chile-marinated beef), chicken, and tripe also vie for attention when designing a burro. Of course, you want to add melted cheese to the interior. Ours came plain. It would be dauntingly stark if all one did was eat it end to end. But once we tore the tortilla wrap and opened up the burro, all that glistening meat called out for condiments. Condiments make El Burron soar.

Our man Francisco, behind the counter, spoke less English than we speak Spanish. He had no problem detecting that we were newcomers, so he walked us to the salsa bar and gave us a guided tour of its splendors: several different salsas and sauces, pickled onions, peppers, and various vegetables. We brought an assorted plateful back to the table and adorned our burro bite by bite.

What To Eat

Burro Macho


Salsa Bar


El Burron Recipes


What do you think of El Burron?

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