phat burrito (southend)
rating: * * *
1537 camden road
charlotte, nc 28203
i had quite an interesting experience on my first visit to phat burrito. one soggy monday night, we decided to grab takeout from someplace nearby. since it was getting very close to 9pm, we knew our decision needed to be made swiftly. i’d heard from several people about how great phat burrito’s food was, so i decided to place an order around 8:30pm that night.
the dude who answered the phone was definitely a character. i ordered a chicken quesadilla, a steak burrito, a steak tortilla salad, and some extra guac. he asked multiple times if i would make it there by 9, OR ELSE. amused, i assured him we would be there right away.
phat burrito is located quite close to another southend staple – price’s chicken coop. it’s situated on a corner across from price’s with an incredibly small parking lot and an even smaller footprint. inside are all the conforming trappings of a nonconformist establishment: revolutionary posters, indie rock band bumper stickers, pierced and dyed cooks, mismatched tables/chairs, and multicolored walls with appropriately peeling/scuffed edges. it’s definitely charming, and i loved how the clientele was a bit atypical – of course, you had your artsy crowd, but there were definitely some “jocks” and “plastics” mixed in (and who doubted i could make a mean girls reference on my blog!? yep, that’s what i thought!). an array of patrons from differing backgrounds can only mean one thing in an establishment this kitsch . . . some darn good food.
i waited awhile for my eats, and when i made an inquiry to the neo-hippie manning the register, he informed me, with a bemused laugh, of the fact that the paper with my order had been “lost,” so would i mind giving it again. i didn’t mind, so i resubmitted my requests and waited for only a few minutes more before the aforementioned cook tossed it all together. he handed me my bag of grub and i walked back over to the register . . . to wait again. when neo-hippie noticed me a second time, he asked if anything was missing. i told him, “well, i haven’t paid, yet.” he was actually shocked that i waited around to pay.
oh well. maybe i should have bolted.
the food was great: cheap (less than $7 per item) and satisfying. my favorite of the selections we made was definitely the salad. the steak was well-marinated and didn’t sport the texture of shoe leather (a welcome change). the guac was a bit bland, but the avocados were fresh, so i tossed on some salt and dealt with it. the runner-up was the burrito . . . i omitted the beans and loved how hearty and filling it was. the quesadilla was probably the weakest link, but even then, it was still damn good.
phat burrito is definitely a joint for the mellow. the people were very nice, if a bit scatterbrained, and the food took awhile, but was totally worth it.
i think this is a winner when it comes to takeout on a rainy night. i’m glad because, even though i feel like a traitor for saying it, i was starting to get tired of moe’s.