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What Is a San Diego Burrito Doing in Austin?

New East Austin bar Troublemaker opens today with french fry-stuffed burritos, cocktails, and records

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San Diego burritos at Troublemaker
San Diego burritos at Troublemaker
Courtney Pierce/EATX

Troublemaker, the East Austin new bar that replaced casual New American restaurant The Hightower, opens on 1209 East Seventh Street tonight, Friday, November 8. On deck from the revamped space are cocktails, beers, a record shop courtesy of partners from record shop End of an Ear, and, most importantly, San Diego burritos.

Why San Diego burritos? Co-owner and chef Chad Dolezal, who was born and raised in Texas, lived in the Southern California city for some time. “Mexican food in San Diego is different than Mexican food in Texas,” which appealed to him.

There’s a difference between what’s known as California burritos (in San Diego) and San Diego burritos, as Dolezal noted. While both include french fries, cheese, sour cream, and pico de gallo (no rice or beans here), the California-style burrito must come with carne asada, while the San Diego-style burrito can include whatever type of main filling. (What could be argued as the country’s most recognized burrito, from restaurant chain Chipotle, is done up Mission-style, which means a heftier burrito stuffed with rice, beans, and guacamole, and no fries.)

The San Diego burrito at Troublemaker, along with some cocktails
The San Diego burrito at Troublemaker, along with some cocktails
Courtney Pierce/EATX

Troublemaker’s San Diego-style burrito menu features, yes, carne asada, carnitas, pollo asado, or the vegan Impossible Meat chorizo. Dolezal’s favorite is actually the last option, though he admitted that it’s “kind of sacrilegious.” Fans of the Hightower might recognize the fries, which are the same: the traditional sort made with kennebec potatoes and double-cooked.

“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel,” Dolezal said of Troublemaker’s burrito focus, “but we wanted to do something that people couldn’t get at every taqueria in Austin.

“It’s something that everyone’s totally familiar with,” Dolezal continued, “but going, ‘hey, we’re going to take a lot of pride in doing this. We’re not doing a spin on it. We love this, and we’re going to show you the reason why.’”

Troublemaker’s burritos, which will be made with house-made flour tortillas, will be wrapped in paper rather than foil, the way it’s done in San Diego. Wrapping a burrito in foil also steams the item, as Dolezal noted.

There’s also a weekend morning burrito filled with scrambled eggs and bacon. Along with the burritos, there are chips, salsa, and guacamole. Off-menu items include french fries topped with any of the meats and vegan meats. Plus there are beers and cocktails. Scope out the full menu below.

Currently, San Diego-style burritos can also be found at Austin truck Super Burrito.

Troublemaker’s hours will be from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. weekends.

Dolezal and co-owner Victor Farnsworth opened Hightower in 2014, with a New American menu in a casual setting, plus a great happy hour. It closed in August 2019, to make way for this new concept. There are still plans to open a new restaurant in Dallas, though it will not be named Hightower, but will probably involve these burritos.

The bar at Troublemaker
The bar at Troublemaker
Courtney Pierce/EATX

Troublemaker

1209 East 7th Street, , TX 78702 (512) 524-1448 Visit Website

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