Eat the Guide: Juan's Flying Burrito on Carrollton

Hello and welcome to the NOiG series Eat the Guide!  In this series, I explore the scores of restaurants included in the NOIG Vegan-Friendly Restaurant Guide.  You can follow along in the guide or right here on the blog, or both of course.  See previous posts here, and enjoy!

This weekend I visited the Mid-City location of Juan's Flying Burrito, located on Carrollton very near the corner of Canal Street.  Every city of even moderate size seems to need its hip burrito joint, and this is ours.  They have three locations total; others are located in the Lower Garden District and in the CBD.

Juan's Mid-City.  Note the four outdoor tables.
Appearance and Atmosphere:  Juan's is somewhere between funky and raucous with a distinct punk rock vibe.  Indeed, you will almost definitely be greeted by loud punk or metal music upon entering.  This visit went a little more mainstream than usual as we were serenaded by Rage Against the Machine for the entirety of our stay.  Your server is almost guaranteed to have tattoos and/or piercings - they'll also be pleasingly knowledgeable about what on the menu is or can be made vegan.

Neon from the LGD location
The walls are painted in Day of the Dead motifs and adorned with intriguing lit sconces made of clear Mardi Gras beads that, if I'm not mistaken, come from UP / Unique Products.  If you're from out of town go ahead and get one of the cool Juan's t-shirts.  City love is cool in Nola so you could get one if you live here too, but people might think you work there.

Hours of Operation:  All locations are open 11am to 10pm Sunday through Thursday, and 11am t 11pm Friday and Saturday.

Service Style:  Full table service.  A sign in front will let you know whether you should seat yourself or wait to be seated, depending on how busy it is.  During peak dining times expect that you might wait a little while.  Tables are a mix of freestanding and booths; you can also sit at the bar.

Burritos: boring to photograph, delicious to eat.
Available Vegan Options:  Due to the nature of American Mexican food, there aren't many vegan items to be ordered directly off the menu but there's a ton that can be vegan.  Straightforward vegan options to be ordered by name include the chips and salsa, chips and guacamole, the Supergreen burrito (which comes without dairy by default, and is delicious but quite drippy), and the Wicked Garden Fajitas.

The whole world opens up, though, when you realize that you can build your own burritos and tacos.  Vegan fillings include the black and pinto (but not the refried) beans, the white (but not the yellow) rice, TOFU (oh how long we waited for Juan's to have tofu), and all manner of vegetables (including potatoes!).  There are also numerous menu items that are vegan once the dairy is removed.  My favorite burrito is the veggie punk, minus cheese, plus tofu and avocado.  Of note, Juan's now uses locally made Hola Nola tortillas.  They also fry their own tortilla chips.

Alcohol or Espresso:  Juan's has a full bar, including frozen margaritas.

Price Range:  It's a pretty cheap night out unless you start drinking; burritos and tacos range from $6 to $10.

My Experience:  I've been going to this local chain since it opened in 1997 and it hasn't changed much over the decades.  It's comforting really.  My burrito was enormous and I shouldn't have finished it but did anyway.  The unsweet tea was just the right strength.  The service was fast and pleasant.  The music was loud and angry.  In other words, we had a typical Juan's experience and it was great.

Final Thoughts: Go to Juan's if you want a good burrito, don't mind skipping dairy analogues, and enjoy some kinda loud music.  Add tofu and avocado to whatever you get.  If you go to the LGD location and it's nice outside, sit on the back patio - it's a completely different world than inside.  Go at an off time to avoid waiting for seating.

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