Dear Flying Burrito,
I can still remember our first encounter back in May of 2007. It was a Wednesday, and Lisa bought my lunch as a bribe for doing something I wanted to do anyway. Even on our first meeting, I was wise enough to choose the chicken nachos, and it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Do you remember those early days when Lisa liked to go and flirt with "the burrito boys" none of whom were actually flirt-worthy? Remember the nicknames we had for the boys? I still miss JT and Original Hat, and though I love Normal Guy, he still can't make up for the loss of them. Remember how Mouth-Breather used to be such a dud then turned fun for about a week and then went right back to his old dud ways? Why did he have to be the one who worked there the whole time I've been in love with you?
Flying Burrito, you ruined me for any other pick-your-toppings type Mexican food. Whenever anyone starts singing the praises of Moe's, I gag. I still believe that anyone who truly likes Moe's has never been to the Burrito. There's just no way you could experience the perfection of you and ever be content with Moe and his nasty cheese dip.
I always loved that I could come for a visit anytime of day. On Mondays when I like to eat lunch late, the River Market vendors are always closed, but you're there for me. I'll never forget that about you. Your presence in my life enriched my relationships with coworkers. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Mattie and Amelia had an entirely different set of nicknames for the boys. Our Burrito-love and friendly debate over the best foods there brought us closer together. Mattie's in London this semester, and I know she's devastated that she'll never get one last burrito when she gets home.
Over the years I've shared our love with countless friends. Jess and I had our first date there back in August of 2008. I took Justin there. Sam the page and I have lunched there together. I think I introduced Shane to your delightfulness. You were the setting for a short-lived run of weekly lunches with a few downtown-working church friends. When Martha moved back and we instated downtown lunches, you were the first place I took her. And that doesn't even take into account all the lunches I've had there with Lisa or Bob and Philip and lately with the babies Beck. So many memories with folks from all over my life. Thank you for those memories.
Sometimes I've tried to stay away, bring my lunch, and save my pennies, but even when I was being sensible, you were my splurge place. If I was going to go eat anywhere, I would come to you, especially on Tuesdays. Your double-punch lunch card special ensured that though I was paying for lunch then, there was a free treat in my future. Thanks for all those double-punches. And thanks to Normal Guy who on a few occasions gave me extra punches after I lost my punch card. I'm going to miss that Normal Guy.
I had heard mutterings that you were closing, but I refused to believe them until that Thursday a few weeks ago when I read your closing signs for myself. I couldn't believe it. I resolved then to make the most of our time together. I even had a punch-card schedule worked out so that I could fill my card one last time before you were gone forever. When I fell a bit off-schedule, Normal Guy came to my rescue again and finished my card for me on Monday, so it was free-lunch ready on Tuesday, our last day together. I actually made plans over the weekend to introduce one more person to you before you were gone for good. Lacey was going to meet me after work on Tuesday night for one last hurrah. I still came to see you for lunch on Tuesday though--and waited in line for over thirty minutes. I'm not sure how you're not managing to stay in business with crowds like that. I'll never regret coming at lunch-time that day because when Lacey and I walked over after work, you were already closed for good. It hurt.
There's still an ache there. Never again will one of the burrito boys know I want nachos to go before I even say it. Never again will I taste the joy of all my favorites piled just the way I want them. I've tasted my last chipotle sour cream. I'll never have to explain the recycling system to Bob again or find myself involved in random line conversations. No matter what other Mexican restaurant reopens there in the spring, it will never be the same. It won't be you, and without you, we won't be us. I'm sorry for all the times that I took you for granted, for all the times I didn't ask for guacamole just because it cost extra. I'm sorry for not savoring each lunch with the knowledge that they would someday end. I've seen some cheery, feel-good quotation somewhere that advises, "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." I think I'll get there someday, Flying Burrito. Someday I'll look back with nostalgia and fondness for all the good times you provided, but for today, I'm still going to cry.
You'll always be in my heart.