Tortillas -- Atlanta’s original and much beloved rock ‘n' roll burrito joint on Ponce de Leon Avenue -- closed in 2003, after 19 years of epitomizing a certain kind of scruffy fast casual dining.
But even as chains such as Chipotle and Moe’s moved in, persistent fans, like Matt Hinton of Bell Street Burritos in the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, continued to pay homage to Tortillas with their own thick and juicy San Francisco Mission-style wraps.
Now, Eric and Margaret Kaiser, who own Grant Central Pizza, have opened Tomatillos in East Atlanta Village, with a menu of burritos, soft tacos and quesadillas designed to elicit an immediate sense of Tortillas deja vu.
The look: The Kaisers bought the old Wachovia bank building on Glenwood Avenue, transforming it into a bright white space with rows of simple booths and tables, an angled order counter and a shiny open kitchen. A front patio with umbrella tables offers a small patch of sidewalk seating.
The scene: So far, Tomatillos is doing a brisk lunch business, while families from the neighborhood are dropping by in the early evening, Margaret Kaiser said. Later weekend hours aimed at the EAV night life crowd are coming soon.
The menu: The Tomatillos motto is “in beans we trust,” and the bulging $5 base burrito is built from a combo of pinto and/or black beans, rice, jack cheese and salsa fresca rolled in a steamed flour, whole-wheat or spinach tortilla. Potato and green chile, tofu, chicken, pulled pork, steak or shrimp versions run $6-$9. And there’s a long list of add-ons, including spinach, sweet potatoes, avocado and roasted corn.
The drinks: While the sign out front advertises burritos and beer, the liquor license is still a couple of weeks away. When it arrives, look for a variety of classic and craft beers, along with wine and a few specialty cocktails. In the meantime, offerings include Mexican sodas, juice drinks, iced tea and coffee.
The extras: The Monday-Friday $8 lunch special includes a burrito, fountain drink and chips. Weekend brunch features the likes of huevos rancheros with black beans ($5) and a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs and cheese ($5).
Tomatillos, East Atlanta Village
11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays. 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. Brunch: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays.
Appetizers and salads, $3-$8; tacos, burritos and quesadillas, $2-$8; kids menu, $1-$2.