Best of Boston All-Stars: What’s New at Anna’s Taqueria
Welcome to Best of Boston All-Stars, a series that takes a closer look at what’s new at longtime Best of Boston favorites.
With lunchtime lines at all six–soon to be seven–locations snaking so long that you might just spend more time queuing than eating, it should come as no surprise that Anna’s Taqueria is home to some of Boston’s most beloved burritos.
A longtime cult favorite among locals, Anna’s has comfortably assumed its best burrito status not long after first opening its doors in Brookline in 1995. We were hooked early on: “Anna’s got the whole thing down,” we wrote a mere three years later. “The rice, the frijoles, refritos, the guacamole, and the salsa are just like your mother used to make—that is, if your mother happened to be born south of the border.” (A rather amazing feat, considering that owner Mike Kamio is Japanese.)
Back then, when good Mexican food was hard to come by in this town, Anna’s was something of a revelation, worth a special trip and worth the inevitable wait. In 2001, we marveled at the burritos “so big and tasty, you might just forget you’re in Boston” and praised the “deft hands of the burrito-istas” who elevated burrito-rolling to “its rightful status among the culinary arts, ensuring that everything holds together until the last blissful bite.” And it’s what has kept Anna’s in demand for two decades.
After celebrating their 20th anniversary this past October, Anna’s still reigns supreme as the champ of quick, cheap Mexican eats—at least if our readers have anything to say about it: Anna’s won the 2014 Best of Boston Reader’s Poll award for Best Burrito.
But while burritos might be the stars of the show, there’s more to explore on the Anna’s menu: “I’d say that the hidden gem is our tacos, served on corn tortillas made locally,” says Kamio. In 2006—the same year they won a neighborhood Best award for their Brookline location—Anna’s added al pastor fillings to their menu. “That was a game changer,” says Kamio. “Not many people in Boston were familiar with al pastor, and now it’s a fan favorite.”
And they have fans in high places, with Red Sox pitcher Craig Breslow and Tiffani Faison of Top Chef (herself a Best of Boston winner) professing a fondness for Anna’s. “We have a pretty big local following and really love our loyal Boston fans and their appreciation for fresh Mexican food,” says Kamio.
In addition to build-your-own super burritos, Anna’s prides itself on giving back, making it “a priority to immerse each Anna’s location into their community,” according to Kamio. “We love to support what our customers are doing, whether it be through our monthly charity roller events, providing a free lunch to a children’s summer camp, providing burritos to the teachers at our local schools, [or] sponsoring a youth baseball league.” For example, last December, the Brookline Anna’s welcomed Santa Claus as a celebrity roller, partnering with the Globe’s Globe Santa charity.
“It’s been 20 years since we opened the doors of our first Anna’s and since then, we always pride ourselves on using only the freshest ingredients, authentic recipes and expert assembly,” says Kamio–and the empire is still growing: After opening their sixth restaurant in 2008, Anna’s now has its sights set on another location outside city limits.
“We’re actually opening our seventh location in Newton Highlands relatively soon. This will be our first Anna’s in the MetroWest area,” says Kamio. It comes after an influx of requests from the families and college students in the area. So rejoice, Newtonites: The burritos worth traveling for have made it to your backyard.
Anna’s Taqueria has locations in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville; for more info, visit annastaqueria.com.