Bandidos breaks out of the burrito shack

The West Asheville joint adds table service and a new dinner menu

Bandidos Burritos is making a statement: the restaurant is putting burritos aside in favor of more refined fare.

Owner and cook Justin Smudde says he wants to explore more dishes than the restaurant's name suggests. “I got kind of pigeonholed into a burrito/taco shack because when I started out I was on a cart selling burritos and tamales,” he says. “And then when I opened this place up, that's pretty much what everybody expected me to do.”

Bandidos, has grown over the years into a brick-and-mortar business from a food cart. Recently, the restaurant began selling beer, wine and liquor (pitchers of craft beer start at $12) and upgraded its dining room. It’s also offering table service.

Smudde hopes these changes will set the stage for the new menus he's created. “We're not a burrito shop,” he says. “We’re trying to kick that stigma.”

Dinner benefits from a totally new design. The dishes are based on specials, which Smudde says have been popular. There's a ceviche salad with Sunburst Trout, black bean and corn salsa and pickled daikon, carrots and onions. Shrimp and mussel dishes make for a substantial seafood section. The entrees feature Apple Brandy Farms beef and pork and Tanglewood Farms duck.

With the new offerings come new prices. Dinner entrees range from $11 to $17. Smudde says he thinks the costs are consistent with the new concept. “The idea is to get people in here to sit and hang out,” he says. “We don't want it to be stuffy.”

At lunch, the menu changes are fewer, and prices remain around $3 for tacos and $7 for burritos and sandwiches. A la carte tacos and sandwiches will be the focus at lunch.

Bandidos Burritos, 697 Haywood Road, is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday.

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