Two previous Madness champions garnered the highest votes in the second round of Burrito Madness to advance to round three, ousting some heavy hitters in the process.
Zivaz Mexican Bistro bumped South Tucson fave Mi Nidito out of the hunt for Tucson’s best burrito by more than 40 votes. Olé Mexican Cafe on the northwest side took out east-side darling Poco & Mom’s by a nearly two-to-one margin.
“We are organized and trying to get as far as we can,” said Zivaz owner Cecilia Valenzuela, whose restaurant at 4590 E. Broadway won Caliente’s Burger Madness in late 2013. “We are promoting the burritos and telling everybody to vote for us. We have a Facebook page and we are telling everybody about it.”
“Of course we want to win. We want to be undefeated,” chimed in Olé Mexican Grill’s Monica Aguirre Rockel, whose family’s restaurant at 2080 W. Orange Grove Road took top honors in last summer’s Salsa Madness.
Zivaz is offering daily burrito specials to encourage voting. But Valenzuela said it is the popular Burrito Poblano — chicken in a savory poblano sauce with cheese, corn and red and green peppers — that will take them to the championship round.
Rockel said customers are pushing two house-favorite burritos in the contest — the Aguirre, usually made with shredded beef and topped with green sauce and Monterey jack cheese; and the Olé, stuffed with beef, pork or chicken and grilled green onions, whole beans and guacamole.
“Some people like to combine them with an Ole burrito topped by Aguirre sauce,” Rockel said.
At Zivaz, nobody is shy about encouraging customers to cast their votes. There are reminders at the front counter and a poster outside. At Olé, laminated cards are tucked inside the salt and pepper shakers advertising the contest. Rockel said people are quick to ask about the cards, which leads to staff asking for votes.
“We had a lot of customers definitely voting,” she said.
Round two also saw the fall of El Charro Café to St. Mary’s Tortilla Factory, 1030 W. St. Mary’s Road. Baja Cafe lost to Paco’s Mexican Food, 5563 E. Grant Road, while El Güero Canelo, with three locations, squeaked past Teresa’s Mosaic Cafe by 16 votes.
Other winners included Taqueria Juanitos, 708 W. Grant Road, over Marana’s Nana’s Kitchen; Tania’s, 614 N. Grande Ave., over Los Betos; and Nico’s, with multiple locations, by a two-to-one margin over North Fourth Avenue’s The B Line.