New Mexico Is The Home Of The Original Breakfast Burrito

If your morning wake-up call has ever involved a warm tortilla wrapped around eggs, savory breakfast meats, and fluffy potatoes, then you know the wonder of the breakfast burrito. What you might not know is that the handheld favorite dates back to the American Southwest in the 1970s. That's right, the breakfast burrito was born in the same place known for the Roswell incident and the atomic bomb: New Mexico. As with much New Mexico mythology, there is some blurring between fact and fiction and differing accounts concerning the semantics of "wet" breakfast burritos versus the non-sauced variety; however, the one thing for certain is that breakfast burritos exist and the world is a better place for it.

While it was no doubt a regional breakfast staple in New Mexican households for much longer, the non-sauced breakfast burrito is said to have officially originated around 1976 at a restaurant called Dee's –- so named for its owner Dee Rusanowski –- in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Rusanowski got the idea to take the ingredients for her standard breakfast sandwiches –- ham, eggs, and cheese -– and wrap them in a tortilla and even threw some hash browns into the mix at the request of one of her patrons. Admittedly a happy accident, it is the unofficial story of how the breakfast burrito came to be. In moist contrast is Tia Sophia's, another Santa Fe landmark that is said to have created the smothered breakfast burrito and put it on the menu a year earlier. The issue of who really invented the burrito is as contentious as its subject is delicious.

The breakfast burrito's rich history

For those interested in exploring New Mexico's culinary offerings, you should know of the "Breakfast Burrito Byway," a creation of the New Mexico State Tourism Board listing over 400 restaurants that feature a variety of the favorite morning meal. Different takes on the original breakfast burrito found along the byway include topping burritos with a mix of green and red chile sauces, the inclusion of chorizo sausages as a breakfast burrito meat, and white cheddar cheese among others. If travel isn't an option, you can always make your own breakfast burrito at home, inspired by the flavors of New Mexico or even a state further west with a California breakfast burrito. Try adding smash tots for an extra crispy breakfast burrito.

Although it's difficult to pin down an exact location or even the individual responsible for creating the dish that is widely known and well-loved to this day, it's worth mentioning that great minds think alike and inspiration can often come from the most unlikely of places. Whether or not the breakfast burrito can 100% factually be attributed to Dee Rusanowski, the state of New Mexico officially recognized the iconic restaurateur in 2019. However you like your breakfast burritos and no matter where you are around the world, you can always count on hungry minds coming up with new ideas to nourish the body and soul.