San Diego Mexican Food Matchup
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San Diego Mexican Food Matchup

San Diego Mexican Food Matchup

When it comes to Mexican food, San Diego State University students do not mess around. Surrounding the campus are three small Mexican food chain restaurants that satisfy all the south-of-the-border cravings any students could ever have: Trujillo’s, Señor Pancho (“Pancho’s), and La Casita’s. Cheap in price and fast in production, these restaurants are the local hot spots during the morning, day and late at night. Students and anyone else who just enjoy some authentic Mexican food flock to these places in order to get their fix. Because the places are all within the same price range and walking distance from each other, the restaurants compete for business from the same crowd daily.

Thus, the birth of a rivalry.

One of the first things you might learn as a freshman at SDSU is that you will eventually pick which one of the three Mexican joints you love, and stick with it. Once you form an attachment to one restaurant, that is the restaurant you remain loyal to throughout all of college. We take our favorite burrito place almost as seriously as we take our basketball season or nightlife.

Each establishment has its own perks that keep the students coming back. Trujillo’s-lovers return for the massive size and complexity of the burritos. Those who love Pancho’s favor the accessibility and convenient location during the nights’ festivities. La Casita’s enthusiasts rave about free chips with every meal and the lowest prices of the three.

Special burritos and entrées line the menus with varying ingredients and names reminiscent of fraternities, such as Trujillo’s famous “Sigma Pi Burrito.” This distinctive creation includes beef, cheese, salsa, sour cream, guacamole and French fries all wrapped in a quesadilla. Another local favorite is Casita’s AEPi Heaven and Hell Burrito, named after the fraternity’s most popular party.

All of these three Mexican food places have their own charm and deals that keep the students coming and their businesses running:

TRUJILLO’S—Known for: Sigma Pi Burrito and Sigma Chi Crunch Wrap.

Trujillo’s Taco Shop has been in business at the College Square location for around ten years, according to Noe Trujillo, son of the owner. He enjoys working at Trujillo’s because of the interesting environment, but remains impartial in the dispute between the three restaurants.

“I wouldn’t consider it a rivalry,” said Trujillo. “We don’t mess with them, they don’t mess with us.”

When asked why he thinks Trujillo’s is better than the rest, the response was simple: “Our food.”

Although the prices tend to be higher than Pancho’s and Casita’s, students justify the pricey meals by saying that you get what you pay for—a lot of food with good quality and a drink on the side.

“Trujillo’s is by far my favorite Mexican place at San Diego state,” said student Jessica Lewis, “The staff is always friendly along with the delicious food.”


PANCHO’S—Known for: California burrito.

Señor Pancho’s distinct triangular-shaped building structure immediately sets it apart from other establishments and is even equipped with a drive-through for those who are on the go. This place can especially be seen packed with students late at night on most weekends during the school year.

But some claim that the Pancho’s experience has never been the same since beloved ex-employee Luis stopped working there in the spring of 2013.

Loyal Pancho’s customer Christina Matian says her favorite part about going to Pancho’s at night was “Seeing Luis because he was funny and knew my order by heart, so I didn’t even have to ask—he would just make it.”

Whether students notice the difference without Luis or not, Pancho’s still thrives off its lunch and late-night rushes.


LA CASITA’S—Known for: breakfast burrito.

La Casita’s convenient location just outside the majority of SDSU’s residence halls makes it an easy stop on the way home from the library or frat house. The upbeat workers and college-style environment makes it a local favorite.

“I like how they do the serve yourself chips and salsa bar,” said freshman Katelyn Looney, a regular at La Casita’s.

What sets it apart from the other two Mexican joints is its affordable drink menu. Customers over the age of 21 can order anything from margaritas to $5 pitchers during happy hour.

Casita’s also recently signed a contract with the up-and-coming “Munchy Movers” business; one that places the food order to the restaurant and delivers it directly to you. This makes getting that late-night snack even easier for the laziest of college kids.

It seems that other chain restaurants have a hard time competing with the greasy, spicy infatuation that is Mexican food here in San Diego. Poor, near-by Pita Pit and other big-time fast food restaurants such as Domino’s, Jack In The Box and McDonald’s just don’t stand a chance against the Trujillo’s, Casita’s and Pancho’s trio.

So, stop in to any of the three and make the decision: Which one is your favorite?


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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