A “Mucho-Mega Burrito” sounds like a very big burrito.
Try 30 feet.
Puyallup’s Fiesta Taqueria & Tequila Bar made its “Mucho-Mega Burrito” on Jan. 10 as part of its monthly free meal to military personnel, both active and retired, and their families.
“We do a free meal, but we want to call it appreciation to men in uniform,” said Ramesh Kumar, owner of the Mexican restaurant. “Anyone who protects us in the community — we do it for them. We can’t think of anyone better than the military.”
Kumar and his staff came up with the idea after experimenting in the kitchen. In December, the restaurant’s Facebook page posted a video of a chef making a 7-foot burrito, which the restaurant donated to the New Hope Center in Puyallup.
The 7-foot burrito, which can be bought from the restaurant for large gatherings or birthday parties, gained some attention on social media and inspired staff to go one step further.
“We were thinking of what else we can do,” Kumar said. “This time we wanted to do some entertainment with it.”
So for the first time ever, the staff attempted a 30-foot burrito — and if it doesn’t make a Washington state record, it just might make a record for Puyallup.
“Put Puyallup back on the map,” joked one employee at the event.
“We’re a little nervous,” Ramesh said before the burrito was made. “We’re not sure how it’s going to turn out.”
Employees placed a 32-foot wooden shelf in the seating area of the restaurants, where customers would be able to see the burrito being made — and also because the kitchen was much too small to hold it.
Then, around 5 p.m., when the restaurant was packed with military personnel and their families eager to witness the momentous task, it began.
First were the tortillas: 51 of them, to be exact, laid side by side. Then came the sour cream and guacamole, followed by lettuce, onions and tomatoes. Rice, beans and ground beef followed suit — and then came the task of rolling the burrito, which took three staff members to do.
Staff then chopped the burrito up into sections and took it to the kitchen, where it was grilled up and sent back out for serving.
In the end, the 30-foot burrito fed around 40 people and was deemed a success — both in its creation and its taste.
“It’s delicious,” said Chris Pavel, who was sitting at a booth near where the burrito was made. “We saw it being made and everything.”
It’s delicious. We saw it being made and everything.
Chris Pavel, employee at Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Pavel, who works at the Western Air Defense Sector on Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s McChord Air Field, attended the event with some friends.
Clayton and Sharon Daneker were also in attendance. Although they aren’t military personnel, they’re regulars, and are friends with the staff.
“We came down just for this,” Sharon said. “At least we got to see it.”
Fiesta Taqueria & Tequila Bar opened two years ago and began its free meals to the military shortly after. Kumar owns two other restaurants: Karma Indian Cuisine on South Hill and another Indian cuisine restaurant on Bainbridge Island.
Kumar, who lives in Puyallup with his wife and three children, moved to the Pacific Northwest from Los Angeles in 2001. He wanted to open a Mexican restaurant with his longtime friend, Fernando Luis, who Kumar has known for 21 years, and who is the manager at Fiesta Taqueria.
Kumar also serves free meals to the military at his Karma restaurant on the last Tuesday of every month.
“My dream is to one day have 30 restaurants,” Kumar said, so that he can dedicate free meals to the military on each day of the month at a different restaurant.
For Kumar, giving back is a way of showing his appreciation to his community.
This community taught me a lot—I have to give them back something. I haven’t said no to any charity who’s come to my door.
Ramesh Kumar, owner of Fiesta Taqueria & Tequila Bar
“This community taught me a lot — I have to give them back something,” he said. “I haven’t said no to any charity whose come to my door.”
Kumar plans to continue giving back through his free meals to the military, veterans and first responders at Fiesta Taqueria on the second Tuesday of every month.
“It’s great to be a part of this project,” said Fernando Luis. “We want to thank everybody — every single customer.”