From inventive slices to Mexican street food, the owners of OTTO pizza never slow down. Enter OCHO, a new burrito shop opening at 654 Congress Street by Mike Keon and Anthony Allen. “Mike and Anthony have always been interested in burritos — eating them, as well as making them,” said OTTO’s communication chief Eric Shepherd.
OCHO (which means eight in Spanish in case your lingo is a little rusty) won’t be your college co-ed’s burrito joint. “We’re interested in expanding the idea of what a burrito can be, and what can be in a burrito,” said Shepherd. “On any given day, there will a handful of specialty burritos to choose from. A few days later, you may see a completely different set of burritos.”
We expected nothing less from the home of the butternut squash, ricotta and cranberry za. How innovative can they get? Think curried cauliflower, roasted beet, quinoa, feta and tzatziki and/or Moroccan chicken, quinoa tabbouleh, pico de gallo, goat cheese and cucumber raita burritos.
About the same size as OTTO’s Portland flagship slice shop a few blocks away, the 400-square-foot takeout will cater to the growing business mix on the street and concert-goers at State Theatre. “Portland provides many fine examples of restaurateurs who have opened multiple successful concepts,” said Shepherd. “The timing was right for Mike and Anthony to bring this particular idea to life.”
Before the owners get too pie-eyed, they turn to another beloved, affordable meal to stay creatively engaged. In Portland, they join a growing trend of genre-bending chefs.
Entrepreneur and chef Jay Villani, who runs Salvage BBQ and Local 188 on Congress Street, has successfully peppered the boulevard with diverse culinary options. Ditto Michelle and Steve Corry of Five- Fifty Five, Petite Jacqueline and their latest pastry powerhouse. Still, why not spread the burrito love across the city?
“In 2014, the American Planning Association named Congress one of the 10 greatest streets in America,” said Shepherd. “We’re not sure what took them so long. Congress, to us, is Portland.”
With 10 OTTO’s in Maine and Massachusetts, the company has no plans to launch more than uno OCHO. Opening Thursday August 27th. Ole!