The last Friday in August, I went to have lunch at Raging Burrito in Decatur, and had such a comically awful experience both getting there and coming back that the venerable little joint stood out even brighter as a genuine oasis in a couple of hours of slapstick misery. I wrote it all out in an earlier draft, but it read more like whining than congenial exasperation, so you’ll just have to trust me: everything that could go wrong, short of trips to the hospital, police station or auto repair shop, did, in two hours and fifteen minutes of urban angst so meticulously timed that I started looking for the hidden cameras. Before it was over, I was sorely tempted to return, pay for some more minutes on the meter, and close the outside world away to have another burrito.
Scott Herman opened Raging Burrito during that interesting moment in the mid-nineties when it seemed like a new burrito joint was sprouting up every week. I visited their midtown location a couple of times before it shuttered. It was in that strip mall across the street from Ansley, where Metronome Music used to be. Yes, I’m turning into that guy who gives directions using landmarks that vanished decades ago.
I thought about stopping by their Decatur location when Marie and I were in town in July and visited Leon’s Full Service, but we passed at the time. It is in a super space, alongside several other restaurants in a pedestrian avenue adjacent to the train station and the courthouse, just waiting for jurors to get a lunch break. Raging offers a fine special for them, and any other hungry people looking for lunch, where you can get one of their gigantic signature burritos, chips and salsa for about eight dollars.
Regular readers know that we usually try to feature a snapshot of the food along with the building’s front, and longtime readers know that there is an artistic hole in both mine and Marie’s ability to photograph burritos or tacos and make them look in any way appealing. Friends, I sliced that Cajun Killer burrito in half and it fell completely apart. Messy, sloppy, gooey, an ugly brown sauce coating everything inside and spilling everywhere. I tried, I really did, but the end result was just so disagreeable-looking that you would never believe me if I told you how good it tasted. If you’re interested, pop by the blog Spoonfed – link below – and see what good photographs of burritos look like.
I really do like this place, and see that one visit may be fine for a first impression, but there are so many wild and silly flavor combinations here that more are required to do it justice. They have the requisite range of meat and veggie fillings, incredibly competent and fast service, and a very fun, playful atmosphere and sense of design. Herman explained, in a comment to Amy on Food’s review (below), that the strange little tribal guy in the big mask who stands as their mascot is based on a piece of folk art that he collected while in Indonesia in 1990. He may be a slightly daring choice for a mascot in a choosing-to-be-easily-offended age, but I think that he embodies just the right degree of silliness for such a fun place.
Other blog posts about Raging Burrito:
You can see all the restaurants that we have visited for our blog on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s terrific for anybody planning a road trip through our area!