It’s difficult to discuss 3 Pepper Burrito Co. without mentioning its much more famous competitor, Chipotle Mexican Grill. Both follow the same pattern of offering a mix of Mission-style burritos, tacos, bowls and salads packed with beef, chicken, pork or vegetables and accented with rice, beans and a whole mess of toppings.
But while the two are similar, one thing distinguishes 3 Pepper: It just opened its 10th location dead center in the middle of the downtown Sarasota Farmers Market, perfectly situated amid dozens of offices within a walkable range.
Because of its centrality, the restaurant is doing big numbers among nearby professionals, ranging from people who wear ties or skirts to work to people in fluorescent hard hats.
3 Pepper’s tortillas, in particular, are excellent. A staffer takes dough from a drawer beneath the counter, then presses it out on a giant machine before toasting it on a big flattop right in front of you. As the dough heats, it bubbles, browns and mesmerizes.
Of the meats, the carnitas ($7.99) is tasty but mild. The “chicken caliente” ($7.99) isn’t really spicy, but it’s juicy and flavorful in either a burrito or a bowl. Pile on extras like corn, cilantro, fresh or pickled jalapeños and add a squirt of the restaurant’s creamy sauces to complete the meal. Bonus points to 3 Pepper for adding a handful of tortilla chips to each order.
For anyone who works or lives downtown, it all adds up to a solid burrito that you don’t have to get in your car to get your hands on. That’s a delicious combo.
3 Pepper Burrito Co. | 14 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, (941) 866-6142