For those times when you need a burrito with something else filling on the side, new Bushwick eatery Lucha Lucha has your back. Their ‘California’ burrito comes with carne asada, salsa verde, guacamole, pico de gallo and french fries.
The burrito and fries combination is a quirky fixture of Mexican cuisine in San Diego, says Lucha Lucha owner Jay Welch, who hails from the SoCal city.
“You can go to L.A. and ask for a California burrito and not get [a burrito with fries],” says Welch. “It’s pretty specific to San Diego.”
Lucha Lucha is located in the storefront that, until recently, housed the beloved Fritzl’s Lunch Box on a quiet stretch of Irving Avenue between Stockholm and Stanhope streets, a few doors down from the original location of Milk & Pull and three blocks away from Maria Hernandez Park. The Bushwick Lucha Lucha is the restaurant’s second location; it first opened two years ago on Nostrand Avenue in Bed-Stuy.
Like many Californians living in the city, Welch long lamented the dearth of good Mexican food. He decided to take matters into his own hands and partnered with a contractor to open the casual Mexican spot, aiming to serve “the best burritos in New York City.”
Anchored by a tiled bar, Lucha Lucha looks nothing like its former occupant; the only remaining decor elements are scraps of wood from Fritzl’s bench that were used to create paneling in the new joint. If you walk in and immediately get a gothic romance vibe, you’re not off: many of the interior design elements, including the ornate wall sconces, are from the set of the film “Crimson Peak.” Stained glass salvaged from an old church in Howard Beach and a vaulted ceiling round out the ecclesiastic folk aesthetic.
In addition to the aforementioned California burrito, Lucha Lucha’s cash-only menu is organized around an all-star roundup of San Diego favorites like carne asada fries, tacos, nachos and burritos like ‘The Giant,’ which consists of two 14 inch tortillas stuffed with chorizo, steak, chicken, pinto beans, fries, eggs and “The Works” (guacamole, pico de gallo, salsa verde, cheese and sour cream). Welch tells Bushwick Daily that another San Diego staple, the rolled taco, will soon be served at the Bushwick location.
To wash all that delicious grub down, Lucha Lucha serves three craft beers on tap and their version of a Michelada called the ‘Estrella’, made with the juice from their pico de gallo salsa. And while outdoor dining weather may be behind us, the restaurant repurposed Fritzl’s charming patio with colorful bench tables and a string of lights.
Welch hopes Lucha Lucha will soon become a bustling neighborhood hangout that fits into Bushwick like a puzzle piece.
“For us, it’s about complementing [the neighborhood],” he says.
Photos by Alonzo Maciel for Bushwick Daily