Pancheros Mexican Grill
|Headquarters||Coralville, Iowa, U.S.|
|Number of locations||65|
|Area served||United States|
|Key people||Rodney Anderson (President)|
Pancheros Mexican Grill is a chain of fast casual Tex Mex restaurants in the United States serving Mexican-style cuisine. The chain was founded in 1992 by Rodney Anderson when he opened two units: one in Iowa City, Iowa (near the University of Iowa campus), and one in East Lansing, Michigan (near the Michigan State University campus). There are currently 62 units throughout the country. Pancheros is known for making their tortillas on site, at the time the order is placed. In 2006, Sports Illustrated voted Pancheros the most popular place to eat when bars in Iowa City close.
Pancheros serves burritos, tacos, quesadillas, burrito bowls, and salads. The salsas, guacamole, and queso dips are made on-site, daily. The restaurant fits into the quick-serve category, offering both quick service and a higher quality of food than typical fast-food restaurants. Customers start their order by selecting a menu item. Next, the tortilla is pressed fresh on a tortilla press. The customers then choose from the ingredients to be added. Pancheros' main national rivals are Chipotle Mexican Grill, Moe's Southwest Grill, and Qdoba Mexican Grill.
In 1992, Anderson, after just receiving his MBA from the University of Chicago, opened the first Pancheros with capital made from the stock market. The first store was opened in Iowa City, next to the University of Iowa campus. The next 10 locations opened in similar midwestern college towns. It wasn't until 1998 that Pancheros was revamped to include the addition of a dough press for the famous fresh-pressed tortillas, and an updated, more upscale restaurant decor. In 2003 its first non-corporate store opened. Bob the Tool was first introduced in restaurants in 2007. Bob became a celebrated part of the Pancheros experience, mixing burritos before rolling them and allowing for each ingredient to be evenly distributed across the burrito. In 2012, Pancheros underwent a another small change to their branding, altering their logo marks slightly, and introducing their emblem logo.
Any of the following can be added, some for an additional charge:
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Black Beans
- Pinto Beans
- Guajillo Marinated Steak
- Tamarind Marinated, all white meat chicken breast
- Slow roasted pork carnitas
- Sautéed, marinated veggies
- monterey jack/white cheddar blend shredded cheese
- Sour Cream
- Mild Ancho Salsa
- Medium Verde Salsa
- Hot Tomatillo Salsa
- Corn Salsa
- Pico de Gallo
In 2013, Pancheros introduced two proprietary hot sauces, Greenade and Flavolcano.
Flavolcano is a smokey hot sauce with a spicy kick. Using 7 different types of peppers to achieve this distinct flavor, it adds a special zing to your burrito.
Greenade is a green chili hot sauce. What it lacks in spice, it accounts for in flavor. This sauce adds a unique, tangy flavor to your burrito.
Both hot sauces are available for purchase in restaurants, or online at pancheros.com.
Pancheros stores have a warm, industrial look. Exposed ductwork, track lighting and metal accents are softened with warm tones, colorful tile and padded booths  Pancheros average seating capacity is 70, and no units have drive-thrus, which would not fit the made-to-order concept. Some stores do have patios.
- Wood, Gigi (2010-10-08). "Panchero’s plans additional store openings this year, next". Corridor Business. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
- Burrito Blog
- Sports Illustrated
- Pancheros website
- QSR Magazine
- National Restaurant news
- Pancheros Mexican Grill website
- iBurrito info on the Pancheros website
- Pancheros Blog
- Pancheros on Twitter
- Pancheros on Facebook