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Five for 5: A review of Ohio's so-called 'number one' burrito

My second attempt to find a five star meal under $5 in this town comes from none other than Big Mamma’s Burritos, a restaurant with the best burrito in Ohio according to Food Network.

Unfortunately, in order to qualify for this column, I had to settle for the baby version of the popular Chipotle Ranch order. The entire meal, which was just the burrito and nothing else, cost $4.75. I washed the food down with some room temperature bottled water that was already in my backpack.

This wasn’t my first time ordering from Big Mamma’s, but it was my first time trying this order. Before the restaurant redesigned its menu under new ownership, I used to just order what I normally get from Chipotle. As the guy who’s only ever had vanilla ice cream, I was definitely hesitant to stray out of my comfort zone but I went ahead anyway.

The Chipotle Ranch burrito consists of chicken, chipotle ranch, cheddar cheese, rice, lettuce, tomato and onions.

Before I dug in to the meal, our web developer at The Post helped me take a few pictures of the meal. I couldn’t help but notice there was already some diced onion falling onto the newsroom desk. Whether it was a leak in the burrito or just a few stowaways that latched onto the tortilla, it made me doubt the structural integrity of the upcoming meal.

A Big Mamma's Baby Chipotle Ranch burrito sits on a newsroom desk alongside a piece of diced onion that fell out of the tin foil.

Thankfully, I’m happy to report the burrito maintained its structure throughout the meal. As an avid burrito fan, I will admit that a burrito’s ability to keep itself together relies just as much on the consumer’s skill. Like the professional that I am, I went with the common strategy of slowly peeling away the tin foil as I went.

The small, “baby” size of the burrito likely played a role in its ability to stay together too. It appeared that tortilla was able to wrap itself around the ingredients more times than a tortilla would in a normal burrito — the equivalent of when Walmart double bags your items for extra support.

Unfortunately, the abundance of tortilla was also a downside as the first bite I took contained very little of the other ingredients. 

As I made my way through the burrito, the rice became distracting at times. A few grains here and there might have sat out too long causing them to harden. Not what I was expecting from the smaller version of the best burrito in the state.

I was also let down by the lack of kick one would normally expect from chipotle sauce, mainly because there was a lack of sauce for the first half of the meal. I found myself taking bites of imperfect rice and chicken, a bland combination only made slightly better by the presence of diced onions.

The lettuce in the burrito was also unevenly distributed, as I found the majority of it to be shoved toward the bottom of the burrito along with the sauce. 

When the sauce finally came into play, the kick was the right amount for someone who’s a wimp when it comes to anything remotely spicy. I do certainly wish it was present throughout the whole meal.

With less than ten bites to go, I finally hit the perfect bite —  one with just the right amount of all the ingredients to create a perfect combination of taste and texture. That euphoria was quickly ended by the next bite, which was a mouthful of nothing but sauce.

I’m typically not a fan of shredded cheese, but the chipotle ranch burrito had enough flaws that I was too distracted to care about the cheese.

The final stretch of the burrito can be the hardest to hold together. But, just like the start of the meal, it consisted of almost all tortilla which saved the structure but did nothing for the taste.

The small size did nothing to help the burrito’s case either. As the aftertaste of the sauce lingered in my mouth, I found myself wishing there had been a bit more to my lunch. The satisfaction of completing a fulfilling meal just wasn’t there. I could have easily had another one, but then I would exceed my budget and hurt my wallet.

In the end, the Big Mamma’s Chipotle Ranch burrito simply didn’t cut it for me. It had its strengths in structure but only a few bites out of many was what I wanted in a perfect meal. 

The last time The Post reviewed an item from Big Mamma’s was when former news editor and my first friend in the newsroom, William T. Perkins, took on the Mega Mamma Challenge. 

In his words, “It’s nice to be reminded in life that there are things more powerful than you.”

Unfortunately for me, my Big Mamma’s experience was anything but powerful as the baby Chipotle Ranch burrito was one of the weakest meals I’ve had in a long time. 

Final rating: 1.7/5

 Kevin Pan is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Do you know where can Kevin find a 5-star meal for $5? Tell him by messaging him on Instagram at @thenextbigming. 

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