Readers vote Maria's Mexican Grill as the best smothered burrito in Utah

Lorena's, Hacienda Mexican Grill, Cafe Silvestre and La Puente also winners

Trying to narrow Utah's food scene down to a single iconic food is a difficult task. Ask around, and Utahns might offer up fry sauce (a favorite condiment invented by the Arctic Circle fast food chain) or funeral potatoes (a casserole that has become a staple at Mormon gatherings but that's noticeably missing on most restaurant menus). But when we asked locals what a visiting outsider simply must eat while in the Beehive State, one answer kept popping up: the smothered burrito. The popularity of this Mexican dish that captured the hearts (and stomachs) of countless Utahns can be credited largely to one restaurant, Cafe Silvestre, opened by Gloria Luiz – a Colorado native – in 1976. Antonio Tovar, who immigrated to the U.S. at 15 years old and worked at Cafe Silvestre, went on to open La Frontera in 1980, spreading the popularity of the smothered burrito to more hungry diners. This restaurant would spawn many others – La Puenta (opened by Antonio's wife after their separation), La Luna (owned by Antonio's grandson) and Lorena's (a former La Frontera location that was taken over by a friend and renamed). Countless others have branched off, adding to the tree.

  • Maria's Mexican Grill
    Salt Lake City

    Any of the burritos at Maria's Mexican Grill in Salt Lake City can be smothered in sauce (with or without cheese and onions) for an extra cost. Filling choices include been and cheese, carnitas, grilled chicken, shredded beef, carne asada, ground beef or shrimp.
    Photo courtesy of Maria's Mexican Grill / Facebook

  • Lorena's
    Woods Cross

    Burritos at Lorena's in Woods Cross come filled with refried beans, chile and pork inside a flour tortilla. Diners can order it smothered in green or red sauce, with or without cheese and onions.
    Photo courtesy of Lorena's

  • Hacienda Mexican Grill
    Salt Lake City

    Hacienda Mexican Grill in SLC specializes in authentic Mexican fast food, and many locals in the know come for the chile verde smothered burrito. Filled with sizable chunks of tender pork, the burrito packs the perfect amount of flavor and heat.
    Photo courtesy of Hacienda Mexican Grill

  • Cafe Silvestre
    Salt Lake City

    Cafe Silvestre has been a staple of the Mexican food scene in Salt Lake City for four decades, each generation adding their own touches to the family recipes. Smothered burritos come filled with beans, and diners can add meat and cheese as desired. Big appetites can order a smothered burrito as part of a two or three-item combo.
    Photo courtesy of Cafe Silvestre / Facebook

  • La Puente
    Salt Lake City

    Just about any burrito on the menu at La Puente in Salt Lake City can come smothered in enchilada sauce. Cheese and onions are optional, and fillings include bean and cheese, chile verde, chile Colorado, beef or chicken.
    Photo courtesy of La Puente / Facebook

  • Chubby's Mexican Restaurant
    Salt Lake City

    Chubby's Mexican Restaurant, a mom and pop Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake City, serves a smothered burrito with beef or chicken and the option of adding onions or melted cheese. The special comes with rice and beans as well.
    Photo courtesy of Chubby's Mexican Restaurant / Facebook

  • Oscar's Cafe
    Springdale

    Every burrito from Oscar's Cafe in Springdale comes smothered in green chili sauce and topped with sour cream. Hungry guests can choose between pork, shredded beef, chicken breast, sautéed veggies or black beans as fillings.
    Photo courtesy of Jason Rogers / Flickr

  • La Frontera Cafe
    Salt Lake City

    According to La Frontera Cafe in SLC, "We didn't invent the Smothered Burrito, we just perfected it!" Burritos come filled with ground beef, chicken or carnitas and smothered in either chile verde or chile Colorado, with or without onions and cheese.
    Photo courtesy of La Frontera Cafe / Facebook

  • Red Iguana
    Salt Lake City

    A favorite menu item at Red Iguana in Salt Lake are the Two Chile Verde Burritos, filled and stuffed with house-made chile verde. Shredded chicken and beef burritos come covered with Salsa Española, while the diced beef Colorado Burritos have chile Colorado on top.
    Photo courtesy of Red Iguana

  • El Mexiquense Grill
    American Fork

    Among the dozen burrito options on the menu at El Mexiquense Grill in American Fork is the Chile Verde Burrito, filled with pork, green sauce, rice and beans smothered in more spicy green sauce.
    Photo courtesy of El Mexiquense Grill

The top 10 winners in the category Best Smothered Burrito in Utah are as follows:

  1. Maria's Mexican Grill - Salt Lake City
  2. Lorena's - Woods Cross
  3. Hacienda Mexican Grill - Salt Lake City
  4. Cafe Silvestre - Salt Lake City
  5. La Puente - Salt Lake City
  6. Chubby's Mexican Restaurant - Salt Lake City
  7. Oscar's Cafe - Springdale
  8. La Frontera Cafe - Salt Lake City
  9. Red IguanaSalt Lake City
  10. El Mexiquense Grill - American Fork

Congratulations to all these winning restaurants!

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