Filiberto's: My Burrito of Sorrow

Photo by Alex Rodriguez
This is Ana at the 16th Street Filiberto's.
Hey, readers, get ready. We're putting new meaning into the term "street food." For Chow Bella's latest mission -- "Eating 16th Street" -- we've employed a young woman who's literally eaten her way around the world. Alex Rodriguez has eaten borscht in Moscow, steak in Buenos Aires and a "life-changing panna cotta" in Bra, a small town in the Piemonte region of Italy. Now we've set her palate loose on Central Phoenix's 16th Street. Rodriguez will try it all, from Jefferson Street north to Thomas Road -- and report back, place by place.

The Place: Filiberto's on the corner of 16th Street and East McDowell.
The Food: Mexican fast food
The Backstory: 17-year-old Phoenix chain of late night eats.
The Price: $7 for a burrito and a drink.

Photo by Alex Rodriguez
The sign's almost as recognizable as the golden arches.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse than Salsitas, Filiberto's showed up. Filiberto's has been around since 1993, when its first Mexican fast food joint came up. A few years later, 10 more came up, and now, the chain has more than 55 restaurants in 3 different states across the southwest.

Turns out, quantity doesn't mean quality.

For my 16th Street quest, I tried the drive-thru. I ordered a machaca breakfast burrito -- eggs, shredded beef, cheese, green peppers, onions, and potatoes for 50 cents extra ($4.69).

I might as well have thrown some scrambled eggs and mystery meat on a soggy flour tortilla and called it day. It wouldn't saved me the $4.69.

Photo by Alex Rodriguez
A prime example of the term "unappetizing".

It was horrible. There wasn't an ounce of flavor in this burrito of sorrow. Thankfully, I remembered that a to-go case of hot sauce was put in my bag before I drove off, so I reached for that, drizzled it over the contents of the burrito, and wound up with a wet burrito of sorrow - still with no flavor.

This was tragic. It hit a new low for me.

I know what some of you are probably thinking: It's a fast food place. It's open 24 hours a day. It's not supposed to be great. You're right -- it isn't supposed to be great, but it could at least be good. Or it can at least be all right. But no. And not even alcohol can salvage my palate.

I had to make a second visit to photograph the interior and walking into Filiberto's was just as much a shock as that sorrowful burrito.

Was the A/C off, or was there an invisible sexy man in the room turning up the heat? There was a line (which befuddled me) and only one woman working the register and the drive-thru.

Here's the interior.

Photo by Alex Rodriguez
Inferior interior. But wait! There's more!

Notice the top left hand corner of the photo. Do you see the ceiling? Let's take a closer look. You'll notice the moisture as we pan inward.

Photo by Alex Rodriguez


My ancestors are probably rolling in their tombs if they saw this is what's become of the world.

Filiberto's tag line is "Best Mexican Fast Food!" The day this is the best Mexican fast food, the best Mexican food, or the best fast food, pigs will fly, and I'll be strapping on some wings of my own.

Graphic by Claire Lawton
I'm here to eat, y'all!

Eating 16th Street, So Far:
Eating 16th Street: Let's Begin at Pollo Sabroso
La Frontera Taco Truck: A Hit and a Run
Asadero Norte de Sonora: Family Friendly and Fit for a King
Mariscos Playa Hermosa: From the Shores of Mexico to a Colorful Central Phoenix Restaurant
Salsitas: Blame it on the Alcohol
Pro's Ranch Market: Contents of a Fiesta Under One Roof

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Filiberto's is always on the Dirty Dining list. Their sanitation is atrocious. Why anyone would eat there on purpose, beyond me! It's just.. gross.

nowayjose1 1 Like

Your ancestors had probably seen a lot worse than a soggy burrito and some damp ceiling foam.  The hyperbole might be cute if it didn't show such a disturbing lack of perspective.  For as long as this review is its horribly nondescript and unhelpful.  So we got the food lacked flavor and that's about it, and it took you how many words to say it? Filibertos might be bad, but if your writing skills were a burrito, even they would have second thoughts about serving it to an enemy. 


 @nowayjose1 I couldn't have put it better myself. As a Phoenix foodie, I've had many worse burritos than those at Filibertos. This paired with an unnecessarily relentless attack of the type of food that only costs $7 is terribly misinformed about the city of Phoenix and its culture. Kudos @nowayjose1 

Jeremy Daniel Klettlinger
Jeremy Daniel Klettlinger

filibertos are taking over american fast food joints as well. there used to be a burger king on indian school just w of 24th street, and there was always a line of cars. i drive by this filib's all the time and it's rare if there's even 1 car in the drive thru it makes no sense


@Jeremy Daniel Klettlinger Hey Jeremy, look a bit closer at that - it ISN"T a Filibertos - it is a knockoff that isn't good.  The real Filiberto's is at 30th Street and Indian School!!

Don't be fooled - the Filiberto's at 30th Street  is a  new building, great food too!!


No mention of the side effects or the havoc it wreaked on your digestive system from your Filiberto's visit?

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