Originally appeared on the liberty.ie in October 2015.
For purely scientific purposes, I visited a selection of the most popular Mexican joints in the area to find out whether it’s the rice, the meat or all of the extra goodies that makes the burrito a Liberties staple. A few quid lighter and a couple of pounds heavier, I drew up a shortlist of three places: Boojum, Burritos and Blues and Little Ass Burrito Bar.
It seems you can’t walk around a corner in Dublin 2 these days without encountering a Mexican restaurant, and walking around a corner is exactly what you have to do to find the back of the queue for Boojum of Lower Kevin Street.
Its proximity to several of Dublin’s largest third level facilities probably has something to do with its popularity, but it’s not just students who choose here to fill their faces with Mexico’s favourite wrapped meal. Many of the resident guards make the arduous journey down from Upper Kevin Street to spend their lunch hour here, probably because it should be illegal for a burrito to taste so good.
Lucie Donnelly was one satisfied customer: “I like the way you get to pick the stuff yourself, I like the casual seating and the staff are unbelievably friendly even though their heads must be wrecked. It didn’t feel Irish at all.”
The ordering process is efficient, one can customise their own meal, the staff are generally friendly and a fine effort has been made to make the experience and decor feel culturally authentic. These factors, as well as a wide variety of drinks and a generally good atmosphere make Boojum a strong contender for the Liberties’ best burrito.
Burritos and Blues of Wexford Street enjoys the same locale, but if length of queue is a judge of popularity, then Boojum edges it. B&B also loses quality-wise. The burritos at B&B taste more like something you could make at home yourself – which is not to say they aren’t a great lunchtime option, or a 4am option, the time until which B&B stays open on Fridays and Saturdays.
Many a debauched night out has ended with an over-filled quesadilla or two, seasoned with tobasco and tears of regret. “I like it because it’s cheap, but to be honest I only really come here when Boojum’s line is too long,” said Chemistry student Jake Courtney, as he tucked into a side portion of tortilla chips.
The Little Ass Burrito Bar on Dawson Street may lie slightly outside of the area, but it is so good it stretches borders. The queue seems very long but only because the premises are absolutely tiny. What this place lacks in space, it more than makes up for with character and charm. The menu is hand drawn on a large blackboard in artistic fonts, and the three stools crammed up against a cramped window table give the customer a clear view of the table and chairs squeezed onto the path of the adjacent alleyway.
Sitting at that table was Trinity student Paraic, who told me that he reckons he singlehandedly keeps Little Ass in business, “I don’t know how this place will survive when I graduate.” Our chat was over when he sunk his teeth into the ‘Sancho Panza’ pulled pork delight, which he had been unwrapping as he spoke.
My final judgement was made via a carefully constructed mathematical equation. If Taste + Vibe x Price = X, find X. Considering Little Ass is the most expensive at €7.60 per burrito, Burritos and Blues is the cheapest and feels like it, and Boojum strikes an affordable medium, it came down to taste and vibe. And under those two criteria, Boojum is very much X.