Two past Caliente Madness winners face off in the Burrito Madness championship round this week.
Olé Mexican Grill on the northwest side and Zivaz Mexican Bistro on the east side are each vying for their second madness titles. Olé won the Salsa Madness crown last summer while Zivaz won Burger Madness in late 2013.
Voting begins Thursday, Sept. 3, and continues through Sunday, Sept. 6.
Olé toppled El Güero Canelo to land in the championship round while Zivaz defeated west-side favorite St. Mary’s Tortilla Factory. Both Olé owner Ernesto Aguirre and Zivaz’s Cecilia Valenzuela credited their loyal customers for their wins.
Here’s how the finale is shaping up.
Zivaz Mexican Bistro
4590 E Broadway, 325-1234 or zivaz.com
Owner: Cecilia Valenzuela.
Winning strategy: The Valenzuelas are doing the same thing they have done throughout the campaign: sending emails to customers and blasting on Facebook. “Here at the restaurant, we’re promoting the vote. We have signs and we have flyers that we give to customers. We’re letting all the customers know we are in this contest.”
Winning edge: Daily burrito specials generate interest and excitement and keep customers talking about voting.
What makes a good burrito: “Fresh, quality ingredients.”
The burrito that will take us to the winner’s circle: “The burrito poblano. It has chicken breast and the special poblano sauce.And it has cheese and corn and green and red peppers and rice and whole black beans.”
Mad for burritos: She eats the burrito poblano. “I am vegetarian so when I eat it, it is without the chicken. I think I eat them once a week.”
Final thoughts: “(Burrito Madness) is very good for the restaurant. There’s a lot of new customers who come to try (the burritos) and then they keep coming.”
Olé Mexican Grill
2080 W. Orange Grove Road, 219-7215, tucsonmexicangrill.com
Owner: Ernesto Aguirre.
Winning strategy: Table flyers along with reminders from staff members about the vote. “Usually they (vote) when we ask them.”
Winning edge: “No. 1, I think, it’s good food. We have excellent food. If it wasn’t for that people wouldn’t be coming back. And we have a lot of loyal customers.”
What makes a good burrito: “I think the sauce. Our red chile sauce is really good. And the Aguirre (burrito with green chile sauce) is really popular.”
The burrito that will take us to the winner’s circle: ”The Aguirre with Monterey Jack cheese and red chile sauce. “We blend our chiles and we make our own sauce, freshly made.”
Mad for burritos: “I eat a burrito maybe once a week. I eat every day here, but the burrito I eat once or twice a week. If I eat too much tortillas it’s not good for you.”
Final thoughts: “I know it’s going to be tough, but we’re going to do our best.”