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Burrito Track in Whittier, Which Offers 17 Types of Breakfast Burritos, Lives On After 43 Years in Business

12:23 PM PDT on July 15, 2021

burrito track

Welcome to Local Gems, our new monthly restaurant column presented by White Claw, the official hard seltzer of L.A. TACO. Each month we’ll honor neighborhood institutions that make delicious food and have stood the test of time all over Los Angeles. Read, order, share, and don’t be afraid to rep your community’s local gem in the comments.

[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]n 1978, Don Pedro Vaca created the one and only Burrito Track on 10027 Mills Ave, a community gem lauded by residents and burrito lovers abroad for its delicious specials and 17 different kinds of three-egg breakfast burritos. 

After proudly serving the community of Whittier for 43 years, the restaurant owner and local legend is hanging up his apron and stepping into retirement. “He is truly the face of Burrito Track,” said new owner Orlando Gutierrez, “He’s like a mentor to me. He still calls and gives me pointers on running this business.”

Gutierrez is an entrepreneur with an extensive history in the restaurant business. His family owns a chain of restaurants in the San Fernando valley called Los Tres Hermanos. Four years ago, he and his wife, Cristal, opened a restaurant in Santa Clarita called Casa Canela. Gutierrez insists that he intends to run the business just as Don Pedro did, under the same name and same menu. “We’re not changing any of the recipes or cutting the costs. If anything, we’re maintaining those things because they’re the brand,” he said.

Orlando and Don Pedro Vaca. Photo by Daniel Suarez for L.A. TACO.
Burrito Track billboard.
Burrito Track billboard. Photo by Daniel Suarez for L.A. TACO.

Don Pedro’s “brand” is built on burritos that people love. For decades, he purchased meat and tortillas from the same local markets to ensure consistency and quality. It’s what made his famous three-egg breakfast burrito an essential for morning commuters, who thankfully will not have to say goodbye.

In addition to the wide variety of burritos, the restaurant sells other Mexican staples such as mulitas, tortas, taquitos, and their ever-popular tacos dorados. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a side of tortilla-based cinnamon chips or the mouth-watering apple burrito.

Burrito Track
Burrito Track. Photo by Daniel Suarez for L.A. TACO.

One of the crucial elements to this restaurant’s longevity is undeniably the kitchen staff. One cook, Doña Carmen, started working at Burrito Track when she was 16 years old. Today, she has over 30 years of experience and now works with her son, Omar. 

“We sell about 2,200 tacos (dorados) every week,” she said while preparing a whole bin full. For years, Doña Carmen was one of the first cooks to come in before dawn, preparing the food and beginning the arduous process of beans home cooked to perfection.

Since Orlando has taken over, the iconic Burrito Track sign has been restored. Some of the facilities in the building are being renovated and repurposed, a move Gutierrez says will make it more efficient. He plans to launch a social media page and partner with a food delivery service to take online orders. Don Pedro, who could not be reached for comment, is residing in his new rancho in El Centro as of this July.

A smothered burrito at Burrito Track.
A smothered burrito at Burrito Track. Photo by Daniel Suarez for L.A. TACO.

A Whittier-based food vlogger, Bob Ruiz (AKA MyWhittier on Instagram and Youtube), said Don Pedro is a “local legend.”

“Burrito Track is such an important part of the Whittier landscape. (Don Pedro) was focused on providing quality food, and that’s why it stood the test of time,” Ruiz said.

In a 2019 video, Ruiz visited Burrito Track and sat down with Don Pedro for a brief interview. They talked about the restaurant’s legacy and memories cherished by countless patrons. 

“When you’re a local,” Ruiz said, “ It’s not just about the food. It’s the memories that come back when you eat there.”

Whether it’s a breakfast burrito to power your day, or a Burrito Track special for that late-night craving, we have Don Pedro to thank for his long-standing commitment to quality and his love for the community.

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