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Choose your adventure at Dutch’s Burrito Bar. Photo by Lee Chastain

Dutch’s Burrito Bar, 3009 S University Dr, FW. 817-927-5522. 7am-11pm daily. All major credit cards accepted. 

Since the departure of Salsa Limon several years ago, there’s been a breakfast taco-shaped hole across from the TCU campus that the surrounding restaurants never could fill. With the expansion of Dutch’s Legendary Hamburgers into burritos and tacos in the space vacated by various failed retail shops and bars, Dutch’s Burrito Bar is ably filling that niche. The fast-casual restaurant offers a build-your-own array of proteins, carbs, wraps, and bowls.

The breakfast menu is pretty sparse, but four taco options plus a few pastries and some yogurt are probably enough to fuel any college student. The breakfast taco of black bean, avocado, and cheese on corn (not housemade but nicely warmed on a flat grill) provided just the right amount of spice and contrasting textures, with its soft, velvety avocado and dense, mildly seasoned beans. One taco wasn’t quite enough, and the potato, egg, and cheese taco I ordered as an afterthought was actually much tastier. I topped the scrambled eggs, which were moist enough to tolerate sitting in a warmer without becoming desiccated, with the green chile queso. The queso is meant to be an upcharge condiment, but sweet co-owner Kay Greenlee just swaddled the egg and melted cheese in a corn tortilla for me and didn’t charge me more. The creamy, mild queso, with considerable chunks of green chile and onion, elevated the taco beyond the standard breakfast fare. 

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Select from a variety of salsas – be aware that one of the vibrant green versions is a cilantro-pineapple product, which is tasty but off-putting if you’re not expecting a sweet salsa. The roasted tomatillo version provided a gentle flavor nudge, while the dark salsa rojo’s fantastic smoky undertones and taste bud-singing spice required a few cooling bites of plain tortilla afterward. 

Much like any of the build-your-own counterparts, lunch and dinner start with picking a wrapper: There’s an extensive choice of flour, wheat, or spinach tortillas, a grain bowl with either rice or a quinoa-rice mix, corn street tacos, a bowl of lettuce, or a plateful of chips. The protein selection looks familiar, with the exception of the barbecue pulled-pork and the carne falso –– a Beyond Meat product that looks, smells, and is seasoned like traditional taco meat. The smoky tang of the barbecued pork offered a welcome,  albeit unusual, element for a burrito, and, unlike traditional pastor, the meat wasn’t greasy. A little more of the beans and a pleasantly fresh, not-too-spicy pico made up for the unremarkable burrito wrapper.

For the street tacos, diners can mix and match fillings. The grilled chicken was perfectly bite-sized but unforgivably bland –– not even the addition of zingy Mexican corn and a slightly sour-spicy Tex-Mex slaw could liven up the bird. Fortunately, the carne falso was a delightful surprise. The texture and flavor of the veggie-based product was a dead ringer for beef. The pea-based meat substitute was flavorful enough without sauce. 

During breakfast on a weekend, the sparse, oddly shaped dining room was full of older folks from the neighborhood (duh –– early Saturday mornings don’t attract college students). By mid-afternoon, the restaurant and its pass-through bar space between the burrito bar and Dutch’s Hamburgers was slowly filling up with purple-clad bodies wanting to watch the TCU game on several big screens. You can buy cerveza only at the Dutch’s burrito register, but walk 20 feet around a corner and you’ll find a selection of wine and booze at Dutch’s Locker Room (built on the remains of a boutique I never actually went into during my time at TCU). 

You also have the choice of dining al fresco upstairs on the patio at Dutch’s Burgers or the smaller street-level patio at the Burrito Bar, which is sweetly appointed with upscale patio furniture and twinkling lights. Dutch’s Burritos is set apart from the other build-your-own franchises by the housemade salsas and spiced meats, even if the burrito and taco wrappers aren’t homemade. 

Dutch’s Burrito Bar

Potato, egg, and queso breakfast taco $3

Black bean, avocado, and cheese taco $3

Pulled-pork burrito $8.25

Carne falso street tacos $8.95

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