I had some business in Needham, Massachusetts on a cool, grey mid-September afternoon and, while traveling down Highland Avenue, I saw this truck. I know this site is called Hot Dog Stories, but I am going to digress from the topic today because this particular food truck is not a Hot Dog Truck– it’s a Burrito Truck! Burrito Dave’s Burrito and Taco Truck is located in front of the CVS Pharmacy at 946 Highland Avenue in Needham Heights, Massachusetts.
Burrito Dave’s is owned and operated by Karen and Dave Gelfond who have been together for 17 years.. Husband and wife teams are common in the Hot Dog, er, Burrito Truck business. Like most other husband and wife teams, Karen is the boss!
The Burrito Truck has been in operation since April of 2010 and is open Monday through Friday from 11:30 AM to 6:30 PM. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Dave trucks it down to the nearby Coca Cola bottler in the Needham Industrial Park to feed the hungry Coke workers their supper. Dave’s not sure when he’s going to close for the season- he’s going to let Mother Nature decide that for him, although he may go year round if he can procure a spot at the nearby MBTA Commuter Rail Station; if he gets that spot, he’ll be selling train tickets too.
Dave got into the Burrito game only recently. He is a former software Engineer who took an unplanned “early retirement” from his former employer. He likes to cook (Karen says he’s a very good cook) and he likes burritos. The couple looked into opening a “brick and mortar” Taqueria, but found that opening a full scale restaurant was going to be a HUGE investment.
The couple has four adult children between them- two who live locally and two who live on the West Coast: one in L.A. and one in Portland, Oregon. Both L.A. and Portland are noted for their vibrant street food scenes and the kids convinced mom and dad that a food truck was the way to go for their new venture. Ultimately, the low relative investment of a Burrito Truck versus a full scale restaurant won out and Dave and Karen began months of painstaking research into how to start their burrito business.
They chose Needham as a location for their new venture because there’s a lot of traffic, plenty of nearby businesses and Needham’s a “food truck friendly” town. The Health Inspector even shared some ideas for locations with the Gelfonds.
The truck itself is a 1989 Ford with a Grumman body and a fully outfitted kitchen inside. All electrical items are run by two small Honda generators (Dave can plug the truck in over night or where there’s power available).
Inside boasts a full flat top griddle, four burner stove with oven, fridge, steam wells, refrigerated sandwich station, and the obligatory 4 sink set up required in Massachusetts (3 for dirty cooking utensils and one for hand washing). This truck is designed for serious volume!
Dave has a few other gigs, most notably the upcoming (actually it will be over by publication date) Fall Festival at 145 Rosemary Street in Needham on September 25. Dave will announce other gigs on BurritoDave.com.
I decided to check out the menu.
I asked what the specialty of the house was and he said everything was good! Dave has pork, chicken or beef burritos or tacos. The pork is braised pork butt, the beef is marinated brisket and the chicken is marinated chicken thighs. As his website states: A soft 10″ or 12″ tortilla wraps a yummy combo of cheese, black beans, rice, salsa verde, and Pico de Gallo. Included are your choice of warmed braised meats – beef or pork or chicken. Add extras – sour cream, guacamole, chopped Jalapeno peppers for no charge. I opted for a pork burrito with everything but the jalapeno peppers
I surveyed the area for dining options- is that a bench way down there?
AHA! The dining room!
I unwrapped the Burrito, then it was time to…
I eat at my local Boloco’s every once in a while with Veggyhead, and I have to tell you, the Burrito Dave’s burrito was better than anything I ever ate there (MUCH less expensive too). This is also a four course meal wrapped in a burrito. It was delicious.