Westside Burrito Connection hits the road

Burritos, bikes and rock’n’ roll spice up Tuesday nights at Destination Harley-Davidson in Silverdale.

Westside Burrito Connection owner Dan Hill and his former manager Nick Wise spent four days constructing a mobile cart out of formica, metal and wood to sell their increasingly famous taco recipe on the road.

“Taco Tuesday,” from 5-9 p.m. includes a live band that plays classic rock tunes and offers a place for bikers to hang out while they get their bikes tuned.

The Westside Burrito’s rectangular shop on Washington Avenue has already earned a reputation as a haven for artists, musicians and wanderers enticed by the smell of the homemade Mexican food. Besides the witty signs that say “Under one million served,” and the T-shirts for sale similar to the West Coast Choppers’ logo, the Burrito Connection has a few quirks that divide their burritos and tacos from the local competition.

“They are made on premises which is rare for fast food,” Hill said, while setting up the cart Tuesday night.

He opened the Westside Burrito Connection in July 1999.

When Hill isn’t cooking beans or chicken at the shop in Bremerton, he is restoring vintage motorcycles and doing odd jobs for friends around town. He participates in a seven-race competition each year.

Opening business is just part of the family tradition for Hill. His great, great, great grandfather, an immigrant from Ireland, was told before he arrived in America that every immigrant received a gift. His gift was a ripped-out page from a recipe book for fish and chips.

“He took the recipe and opened up Scotty’s Fish and Chips in Ballard,” Hill said. “It was open for 30 years.” Hill still has the secret recipe, but is reluctant to throw a party and serve the deep-fried food because the smell is so pungent.

Hill’s father opened up the first Toko Kan Karate Dogo in the United States on Kitsap Way in 1961, and Hill said his grandfather was the first to import neoprene rubber after World War II for use in turtle-skin diving suits.

Wise, Hill’s apprentice, is taking the Taco Cart idea seriously, and plans to sell the Mexican food at Whaling Days in Silverdale this summer, as well as other festivals and events.

According to Destination Harley-Davidson general manager Greg Fisher, the Taco Tuesday at the Harley shop should catch on to be a great weekly meeting place for bikers from all around Kitsap County.

“It’s been a great joint venture for us,” he said. “Sometimes 300-400 people show up at the Harley- Davidson shop in Tacoma on their Taco Thursday event,” he said.

A look inside the Harley shop in Silverdale reveals a bikers dream, including 25 to 30 different bikes in the repair shop, shiny chrome parts and accessories, clothes, a full-service cafe, and a 50-inch plasma screen TV.

Bikes for sale run the gammet from Sportsters to baggers, he said.

“We’re really new, still trying to find that niche,” he said.

He likes the Taco Tuesday idea because it gives bikers of all makes and models a place to meet and hang out during the week.

“We are bringing entertainment,” said Hill.

Although the scene started slow June 1, later in the evening bikes lined along the parking lot at the Harley shop, and people mingled into the waning light.

“He serves a great taco,” Fisher said with a nod to Hill. “It’s all good.”

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