Here is yet another little discovery in a cute small town about 90 minutes west of Austin. There's not a whole lot in Llano, but they have a lovely old courthouse, a river with a bridge, some antique shops, a hotel in an old bank and The Juan Burrito!
When Don and I recently found Juan's we weren't looking for a big food outing. We were just hungry and heard this little place just off the square had great burritos.
When we stepped inside we saw a line at the burrito bar.
That was a sign of good food. But it was also a little worrisome, because there were only two 4-tops and a window "shelf" with a few chairs.
Not to Worry
We ended up getting a table, but there was such a buzz of friendly chatter in the small crowd waiting to order, that I'm sure table sharing would have been fine.
The friendly duo behind the counter worked quickly filling burritos to order while they answered some curious customers with questions about their new restaurant, not yet a year old.
I hadn't planned on doing a write up or I would have taken a photo of my pork burrito personalized with my choice of cheese, fresh veggies and guacamole inside a steamy tortilla. It was gone way too fast!
Even though I got the Little Juan (small) I was still stuffed. I actually loved the simplicity of choosing from 3 meats and pointing to all the yummy toppings. No burrito pic, but I was able to get a photo of the colorful assortment of sodas. I had never heard of the Dublin Bottling Works, but the owners gave us a brief history about the nearby company that has been bottling beverages since 1891. Now we're eager to go for a tour. I love it when a dining adventure leads to another kind of adventure.
As we sat devouring our lunch, I began to notice the framed photos on the wall. Each had an image of a little sombrero wearing figure on a burro, that matched the logo.
This little figure was very much reminding me of a 2-inch stuffed bear I use in photos when I travel. So I was curious.
Who is this Little Guy?
There were some other clever creations like this one, using the same man & donkey with a special "Juan" quote.
As I pondered these images, I saw a number of customers come and go with carry outs. All were greeted like friends by the owners. When there was a lull in the activity I seized the moment and went to the counter with my questions.
Becky and Patrick
The owners, Becky and Patrick sort of chuckled when I asked about the mysterious figure in the photos. First of all, I learned that the figure was named Pancho, not Juan. And yes indeed, this little figure traveled with them and posed the same way my bear has posed for years.
When I asked the obvious question "So where is he?" I detected an uneasiness. Maybe I wasn't supposed to ask. Becky showed me a small plastic cutout of Pancho and admitted that this silhouette is the stand-in for the original. The first little guy was lost for good when they sold a car... and forgot Pancho was in it. I cringed at the thought. But Patrick and Becky were far too busy and excited about their new business to fret over the original Pancho. They were eager to share a few details of how they ended up here in Texas after living in Oregon. "We were camping and eating burritos over a fire and we just laughed about how we should start a business selling burritos."
We have to go back because I still have questions about how they exactly ended up in Llano and how they can possibly run a business 6 days a week alone. I think they even have a few kids!
When we return I'll ask those questions while I try another burrito. And I'll be sure to have my camera bag, which holds the little bear. I'll have to get a photo of Little Bear and the Plastic Pancho!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.