Any time a local burrito joint opens, comparisons to the genre’s unholy trinity of chains—Chipotle, Qdoba, and Moe’s—are unavoidable. Fortunately for the new Lime Taqueria in Covington, owner and chef Gina Puopolo’s inspired wrap surpasses its corporate competitors. Puopolo, formerly a sous chef at The Palace Restaurant, has captured the magic of Chipotle in key areas: Her menu is simple, and her burritos come fast and cheap ($6.50). But in the categories of freshness and creativity, Lime leaves the competition in the dust. Puopolo makes a fresh batch of guacamole each (and sometimes three times per) day, and the sneaky-hot, chunky salsa is made with organic tomatoes and peppers that her husband, Matthew, grows hydroponically in the basement. Lime’s menu is distinctive, expanding on the traditional Mexican formula. There’s a Jamaican jerk chicken burrito with watermelon salsa, a barbecue pork burrito with pineapple and pickled red onions, and a braised beef burrito with mango pico de gallo. The combinations may be unconventional, but the flavors are harmonious. The fruit adds sweetness without drowning out the spice; nothing is overpowering (though if overpowering is your thing, Lime has a large selection of hot sauces to amp up the burn). The decor echoes the remixing of traditional ingredients: The restaurant occupies a charming historical building on MainStrasse; the white paint and big front porch exude Southern hospitality. Only the lime green door hints at the controlled chaos within. Everything is a shade of lime. Plus there’s a multitude of cacti. So grab a mint iced tea, a hot burrito, and a seat on the patio. It won’t be summer forever.
522 Main St., Covington
Prices: $1–$7.50. Lunch and dinner Mon–Sat.
Originally published in the August 2011 issue.