Santiago’s Helps Make Breakfast Burritos Denver’s Official Food

Breakfast of champions — and everyone else, too.

The Santiago’s at 571 Santa Fe Drive sees a steady influx of breakfast seekers even at mid-morning — well after the main rush-hour crush of Denverites grabbing their daily breakfast burritos. But few customers, fixated as they are on their foil-wrapped repast, realize that the woman who started it all is sitting in their midst.

Carmen Morales, born and raised just outside of Denver in the northern suburb of Brighton, opened the first Santiago’s in her home town in 1990; she’s since expanded the mini-empire to 28 company-owned and franchised locations along the Front Range (find them all at She’s here at the Santa Fe shop to talk about an honor that the City of Denver has bestowed upon one of the city’s defining dishes: the humble breakfast burrito. Last month, Mayor Michael Hancock proclaimed that the second Saturday in October would henceforth be known as Breakfast Burrito Day; Santiago’s participated in the announcement as the representative of Denver’s favorite breakfast food.

“It’s a great opportunity for us as a local family business,” Morales explains. While Santiago’s didn’t invent the breakfast burrito, its name is all but synonymous with the tortilla-wrapped specialty that’s best when loaded with the company’s distinctive green chile — “my mother’s green chile recipe,” she says.

Santiago’s founder Carmen Morales is happy that Denver loves breakfast burritos.
The burritos keep coming until breakfast is over.
Santiago’s makes more than just foil-wrapped burritos.

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