Meet the Man Building a Better Burrito

As it has with so much, the pandemic changed everything for Goleta native David Medina. A restaurant professional for 15 years—including helping to open Toma and, most recently, managing Loquita—he was about to join former Loquita chefs Peter Lee and Felicia Medina in launching Secret Bao in the old Roost space on State Street. Two weeks after the lease was signed, however, the world shut down, and a traditional restaurant just didn’t make sense anymore. “Peter and Felicia had left Loquita, and I was in the same situation,” says Medina. “It was pretty devastating for a while. But taking care of people with food is my calling, so I had to pick myself up and think about how we feed people now.”

Like most of us, Medina has ordered more pickup and delivery in the last few months than ever before—usually with disappointing results. And if necessity is the mother of invention, frustration is its aunt. “No one throughout the delivery chain is happy,” he says. “Not the people delivering it, not the customers, who feel like they’re overpaying for food that’s not up to expectations, and not the restaurants, because they get overcharged by Grubhub, Doordash, and so on. It felt clunky all the way through, and no one was winning.”

So, for Better Burrito, his new company specializing in breakfast burritos, Medina designed the experience for delivery, with no plan to ever have a dining room. “Customers can get a better price if there isn’t the overhead of a restaurant. And drivers can be compensated more fairly if the company making the food is delivering it.”

Why breakfast burritos? Everybody loves them, for one thing, but when Medina asked people about their favorite around here, they never answered with conviction. Burritos also travel well, with minimum packaging (unlike so much takeaway food). And Mexican food is in his blood: his cousin started La Super-Rica, with assistance from his mother and grandmother.

Better Burrito currently offers two varieties, which Medina developed with chef Tyler Seymour: one with bacon, eggs, and potatoes, and one with chile relleno, eggs, and beans. They’re $12 each (including tax and delivery, but not gratuity), and they come with a side of smoked tomatillo salsa. “People have absolutely loved them,” he says. “Families, particularly mothers, are so thankful. I think mothers are tired of cooking, and their children are tired of that cooking. This is an affordable breakfast the whole family enjoys.”

After ramping up with wholesale sales to Old Town Coffee, Better Burrito started delivery in Santa Barbara and Goleta just last Friday, and it officially launched yesterday. To try it out, just order by 7 p.m. for the next day, choosing a delivery time between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., and you’ll be looking forward to the morning like never before.

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