They came roaring into town …
I had never heard of the Gilroy Burrito Run (an annual New Year’s Day tradition) until just a couple of months ago: October, maybe. So, my first New Year’s Resolution for 2013 was to go downtown and check it out.
For those of you who, like me, have never heard of the Burrito Run, here is an outline of the story, as I heard it from Peter Arellano:
Some years ago, on January 1, a group of 8 or 10 bikers were on their way from somewhere North of here down to Monterey. About the time they reached Gilroy, they decided that they wanted to stop and get something to eat. Sadly, as they rode through town, they found nothing open. One of the bikers, seeing movement in the Cielito Lindo restaurant, knocked on the door.
Cielito Lindo was not open, and the people inside were the family members preparing to eat their own New Year’s Day breakfast.
When they answered the door, the hungry visitor explained their plight and asked if they knew of any place nearby where the group could get breakfast. Instead of being sent off, the group was welcomed into Cielito Lindo and invited to eat breakfast with the family. Well, the food was good, the company was wonderful, and the bikers enjoyed themselves so much that they promised to come back on New Year’s Day the following year.
True to their word, they not only came back the next year, but they brought more friends with them. And, every year since then, the annual Gilroy Burrito Run on New Year’s Day has become a tradition, bringing riders in from all over central and northern California and even from Nevada. The number of riders coming onto Gilroy has long since exceeded the capacity of Cielito Lindo. To accommodate the ever increasing crowd, the other downtown restaurants are also open on New Year’s morning, feeding the hungry crowds who come roaring in on their bikes.
This year, for the first time, I made it downtown for the event, arriving at about 9:00. The first thing that I learned was that the Burrito Run is not limited to breakfast. It has evolved into a brunch-lunch-and-later event (probably necessary to accommodate everyone, as well as allowing people to sleep in after partying the night before).
I found Cielito Lindo serving coffee and preparing for the crowds by setting up additional tables out on the sidewalk. The Garlic City Cafe and Station 55 were also open and serving the early arrivals. Los Pericos was just opening up when I arrived, but was busy by the time I left, at about 10:30. And that was before the big crowds had arrived.
Everywhere I went, people were greeting old friends and making new ones. (I was invited to join one of the groups for breakfast.) I met a number of people who were from Gilroy and who really wished that downtown would come alive “like the old days”. They talked about buying their school clothes at J.C. Penney’s, getting sodas at the Rexall Drugstore, and what stores used to be in which buildings. (Ben, Dave, thanks for your input and ideas!)
So, what do you think? Breakfast downtown on New Year’s Day, 2014? Is it a date?
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