When Wilbur opened up on King West I actually didn’t hear much about it until I found myself having conversations with friends and it would come up. “Oh have you been to Wilbur?” “I was at Wilbur last night” etc etc. And so it got added to the Hit List. The first time I had Wilbur it was actually for take-out. It was delicious, fresh tasting but I didn’t get a chance to experience the understated cool-ness of dining in. But it’s how I first fell in love with the fresh, healthy, delicious tasting food at a decent price point available for take out or dine-in. If you walk by Wilbur you will undoubtedly see a line-up, I have never not seen this place packed unless it was closed.
My buddy and I stopped in after a workout so we were looking for something casual, quick but that wouldn’t make us feel bad especially after all the squats we just did. So here’s the deal at Wilbur. You walk in, pick up one of the clipboards with the menu, line up and make your order. You can decide at that point if you will dine in or take-out.
The place was actually named after Wilbur Scoville who was a pharmacologist in the early 1900’s and developed what we know today as the Scoville Scale. This scale measures the spice and heat level of chili peppers most often used in – you guessed it – Mexican food. The entire theme of the restaurant is an homage to Wilbur Scoville and features scientist and laboratory inspired decor. There are the light fixtures that are made of different size beakers, a Soda Fountain which was often found in pharmacies back in the day and white tiled walls. My favorite is a piece of artwork that is showcases different chili peppers and their ‘relative’ spice measurement in comparison to each-other. And there’s your conversation starter of the day.
We both ordered The Original Wilbur-Rito – Rice, beans (black or refried), jack and cheddar, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, lettuce and your choice of chicken, steak, pork, or baja fish. You can also add on your choice of Veggies, Salsas or Sauces and how could I go wrong with Pineapple Habanero salsa and Sriracha Crema. Yup, that’s the sound of your mind being blown. We also ordered the Chips & Guacamole which we quickly learned we didn’t need since our burritos came with chips.
We sat down and as we waited for our food to arrive we decided to investigate the Salsa Buffet and Hot Sauce wall. Yes I said both of those things. The hot sauce wall is presumably every brand of hot sauce you could ever want to try or douse your meal in. I am often over-zealous with my hot sauce so I took a photo but decided to stay clear. I think next time I’ll have to indulge.
Next to the hot sauce wall is the salsa buffet which features 8 different salsas (some also available on the menu) from mild to hot. We naturally had to try each and every one and to be honest none of them were super hot. I think the Habanero and Ghost were the spiciest but definitely manageable.
And then the burrito. I won’t lie, I got so excited that I didn’t take a picture when it first came out. They cut it in half for you and believe me, its HUGE. I can get through 3/4 of it on a very hungry day. But as you can see from this half-ass photo, the rice isn’t mushy and you can actually distinguish the different ingredients. Like I’ve said before, I’m not crazy about Mexican food but this is one great tasting burrito. I’ve also more recently had the the burrito as a bowl (sans wrap) and it was still so good.
The verdict – definitely a place you will see me regularly. Its so close by and I’m already craving it again as I type this post. If only I can get away from ordering the burrito every time and actually try something different. They have all the standard categories – Quesadillas, Fajitas and Tacos so I have to spread the love.