by Mike Corrigan

With so many burrito places springing up in just about every imaginable warren across town, one might understandably surmise that Spokane has gone burrito-crazy. And well, what would be wrong with that? Burritos rule. They're delicious, portable, inexpensive, and -- depending on your filling choices -- nutritious as well. Health food in a roll, you bet. Even without meat or cheese, you can get your daily fix of protein by loading them up with rice and beans alone. Add salsa, veggies and maybe a dollop of guacamole and you're well on your way to enjoying a satisfying and well-balanced meal all wrapped together in one compact, easy-to-manage package, proof positive that fast food doesn't have to be a grease-laden health crisis waiting to happen.

One of the newest restaurants to climb onto the ever-expanding burrito bandwagon is Go Go Burrito, located next to TCBY in the 5-Mile shopping plaza. What used to be a photo developer is now a burrito hut. Go Go Burrito may be new (just seven months old), but its owner, Casey Murphy, has had plenty of experience in the burrito-designing arena as the former owner of Sonic Burrito.

Go Go Burrito takes the '60s go-go theme and runs with it. The interior is modern, functional and stylish, with a tastefully understated psychedelic design motif featuring love beads and day-glo signage. Yet the one really way-out piece is the pink go-go boot lamp that's enshrined against the back wall. Classic rock dominates the house system. Lots of shiny stainless steel and ceramic surfaces in aqua and burnt orange lend the place a clean look. There isn't a whole lot of dining space to work with (four tables against the wall surrounded by funky bar stools) but what space there is has been thoughtfully utilized.

Though there is a decent selection of items to choose from, the menu itself is very basic, making it easy to quickly bring yourself up to ordering speed. The place to start is with the signature Go Go Burrito, a flour (or whole wheat) tortilla stuffed with rice, beans (black or pinto), meat (chicken or beef), sour cream, and salsa for $4.75. Combine it with tortilla chips and a 16-oz. soda for $6.75. You can also build your own from a long list of ingredients, winding up with a veggie for $4.50 or a meat-based for $5.50 (combos are $6.50 and $7.50, respectively). There are tacos at $1.25 each, a quesadilla -- the "Go Go Dilla" -- for $2.50 ($4.50 for the combo) and a fairly diverse kid's menu. You can also get fish tacos and burritos featuring tender, marinated cod, not the breaded "fish stick" stuff you get in some places -- very nice and much appreciated by those of us on the Inlander staff.

In fact, we were so enamored of the fish that we just had to order one of those hefty fish burritos ($5.50), which included -- in our case -- a mound of lovely cod fish, rice, pinto beans, cabbage, salsa, guacamole, chipotle sauce and a squirt of fresh lime all neatly wrapped up in a wheat tortilla. We bumped it up to a combo for $7.50. It was excellent -- easily on par with the best burritos in town and delivering precisely the right combination of zesty and savory flavors. The warm and crispy tri-colored tortilla chips with a side of house-made salsa were also quite good. On the whole, a very filing meal that leaves you feeling energized rather than weighed down. We had to go "BYOB," too, and so we did. Our build-your-own veggie burrito was also generous, stuffed with black beans, rice, cheese, salsa, sour cream, onions, lettuce, and chipotle sauce. It was spicy, but not overwhelmingly so, and very tasty, with the fresh vegetables adding a nice crunch. We also scored a taco trio with 16 oz. soda for just five bucks. The tacos are made to order (like everything else here) with our choice of chicken, beef or shredded beef. The taco construction was purely old school: basic crispy corn shell, filled to the brim with meat, cheese, lettuce and salsa. We went with the shredded beef, which was deliciously moist and flavorful. Three of these with a 16-oz. soft drink made for a tidy, satisfying little lunch.

The young men on duty the day we popped in were cheerful, helpful and patient with us first-timers. They also knew their way around the burrito assembly line. That politeness and efficiency combined with the fun, casual atmosphere and the good, fresh eats we encountered makes a return trip to Go Go seem like a no-brainer.

Publication date: 12/02/04

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