New Burrito Loco location offers full bar

by Jared Roddy

For University graduates Greg Pillsbury and John Pillsbury, August came fast.

After closing their old location in the Dinkydale building, the owners of Burrito Loco and their parents had only 29 hours to move all their equipment, fire up the griddles and start selling those football-sized burritos again.

The new Burrito Loco, which took over Bobby Z’s building at 418 13th Ave. in July, is more than twice as big as the original location. In addition to their well-known burritos and Mexican fare, Burrito Loco now has a full bar, and a more traditional bar-style menu for their happy hour guests, said co-owner Greg Pillsbury. The bar is upstairs.

The bar will show football games on the televisions scattered throughout the restaurant, Pillsbury said. He said he hopes to draw football crowds that will drink beer and eat Buffalo wings, which is another new feature.

After a brief stint in the corporate world, the Pillsbury brothers decided a late-night burrito restaurant near campus was exactly what people wanted.

Greg Pillsbury and John Pillsbury had invested in fixer-upper homes and were able to use home equity lines of credit and credit cards to pay for their original location.

And pay they did.

Seven days a week, the two owners, their parents and Greg Pillsbury’s wife each worked 80 to 100 hours a week without pay.

“We weren’t able to borrow from anyone,” Greg Pillsbury said. “You go into a bank and say ‘I want to open a restaurant’ and they won’t even talk to you.”

Because they were short on money, Greg Pillsbury said his parents offered to volunteer at the restaurant for a month.

“That was two years ago,” Greg Pillsbury said.

Greg Pillsbury said every time the family’s schedule seemed to ease up, something else would come up.

Several months ago, they opened a second location in Uptown.

“Normally, locations like that don’t talk to us,” Greg Pillsbury said. “They’re usually looking for a Subway or a Panera (Bread), someone with a lot of money.”

But one place in Uptown liked what they saw, Greg Pillsbury said. They were willing to sign a lease.

So they were back to 80-hour weeks. John Pillsbury runs the Uptown location, and Greg Pillsbury took the Dinkytown location.

In early July, the Pillsbury brothers made an offer for the building space occupied by Bobby Z’s. The owners accepted, and Bobby Z’s closed.

During the next month and a half, the Pillsburys opened up a few new credit cards and refinanced their homes. On Aug. 15 at 3 a.m., they closed the doors in the Dinkydale building.

At 11 a.m. on Aug. 16, they reopened in their new home. Several employees, like Ian McNamara, helped the family in the move and continued on in the new location.

“The toughest part is just getting people to know we’re here,” McNamara said. “There’s no easy way to tell people that you’ve moved.”

Judy Pillsbury, the owners’ mother, was behind the counter ringing up customers Wednesday. She said she is proud of her boys, and having a great time.

“It’s fun, and if I didn’t do it I’d never see my kids,” she said. “It’s nice to be around all the excitement and enthusiasm.”