Will the real wet burrito please stand up?

If you grew up in West Michigan you are no doubt very familiar with the wet burrito. Your traditional burrito swimming in a red sauce usually broiled with cheese.

The Beltline Bar in Grand Rapids is almost universally credited with creating the dish. But did they? Are they even Michigan at all? The wet burrito rabbit hole goes deeper than you could imagine.

The standard story goes that it was the late 60s at the Beltline Bar when the Wet Burrito was invented. The story is as official as Wikipedia.

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A wet burrito is covered with a red chili sauce similar to a red enchilada sauce, with melted shredded cheese on top. It is usually eaten from a plate using a knife and fork, rather than eaten with the hands.... The Beltline Bar in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is said to have introduced the wet burrito in 1966.

So that's that, right?

No so fast. Check out this video from a California Foodie that claims the wet burrito as an LA thing.

While is looks gigantic and filling, it isn't West Michigan style. Yes, it includes several similar ingredients but the salsa verde and the Christmas mix of red and green looks very un-Michigan.

Dig a little deeper and you'll stumble upon this Reddit thread from several years ago about asking about the origins of the wetty.

Just moved to Los Angeles, and wet burritos are on a lot of menus. From my research, wet burritos tend to be only on the west side of LA. My theory is that a wet burrito is actually a specialty from a Mexican region and that whomever “created” it there actually knew of the dish in Mexico.

So the concept is a thing out west? Others were quick to chime in

Go anywhere in Colorado, New Mexico, or Arizona and you will find a smothered burrito on the menu.

100%. Smothered in green chili

I don’t buy that the concept was created in GR…maybe just the term “wet”…which makes it sound kinda weird

So perhaps we credit Beltline Bar with the name and our Midwest version of the dish? That certainly seems fair and equitable. And if you love them, who cares where they came from and who first made them, right?

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