Before there was a breakfast burrito called the “chupacabra”, or a line of hungry fans waiting 45 minutes for one while standing around in the snow, before there was ever such a thing as a Denver burrito bracket, or the chance for a No. 1-seed position on it, there was a woman named Cecilia Bustillos making green chile and burritos from a yellow trailer parked in Golden.
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Friends Ray Pierandozzi, Ian Lanier, Matthew King, Sky Schnautz and Travis Toms grew up eating Bustillos’ burritos during their lunch breaks at Golden High School. They went off to college and would meet for more burritos upon returning home for the holidays, then again after graduation.
In 2013, when Bustillos decided to sell the trailer and the business, along with her classic burrito and green chile recipes, Pierandozzi and Lanier, then in their mid-20s, decided to buy them.
Six years and three more business partners, 11 employees, a championship bracket, plus endless rain-or-shine burrito lines later, the friends are finally getting a brick-and-mortar restaurant for Bonfire Burritos, which currently operates in the parking lot in front of Native Nursery.
The new restaurant will open at 2221 Ford St. in Golden around mid-October.
The space will seat around 70 burrito-eaters in the dining room and on a patio. It will offer a full bar with local beer and cocktails and an expanded menu featuring appetizers, more burrito and taco varieties and expanded vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
“For some reason, we thought that it was just going to be our restaurant that ran itself,” Pierandozzi laughed, describing the friends’ plan for the business when they first bought it as a side project.
But “word of mouth and persistence and good food” necessitated more employees and partners. After about two years, Pierandozzi and Lanier moved Bonfire into a bigger trailer, and three years ago, the partners started looking for a permanent restaurant.
Once the new spot opens, Bonfire’s parked trailer will become a mobile food truck, operating at breweries and festivals. Stay tuned for Bonfire Burritos’ official opening date.
Bonfire Burritos, 17025 S. Golden Rd., (720) 556-6269, bonfireburritos.com