Juanita’s III, 9651 Base Line Road (at Archibald), Rancho Cucamonga
Owned by the same family that has Juanita’s III in Ontario at 1209 E. 4th St. (since 1983), and related to the Juanita’s in Pomona at 1735 Indian Hill Blvd. since 1976, this Juanita’s opened in 2011 in a converted Taco Bell in the Baseline Village center.
(The location in Pomona carries an implicit I; the location in Ontario was II for years until a divorce rendered the name unusable, leading to two locations named Juanita’s III. Such is life.)
It’s the only Juanita’s with inside seating, as well as outside, but the food is essentially the same. The thing to order is the burrito, although they do sell tacos, taquitos, quesadillas, nachos and chile rellenos. In Juanita’s fashion, the prices are listed depending on whether you want your burrito all meat, meat and cheese, meat bean rice and cheese, meat bean cheese, meat and beans or meat and rice. (The old board at the Pomona location inspired a blog post.)
On my first visit I strayed off the reservation for some reason and tried the cheese enchiladas, a brutalist version under a river of melted yellow cheese. They were okay for what they were, but not something I’d recommend or order again.
Next time I reverted to my Juanita’s usual: a chicken, rice and cheese burrito ($5.25) and a small horchata ($1.45). Much better. They make their own flour tortillas and it shows. The burrito was carelessly wrapped, although the fact that it fell open when unwrapped did facilitate adding dollops of their excellent red salsa to the main body of the burrito instead of a bite at a time.
Not the most authentic Mexican food around, but Juanita’s burritos make a satisfying meal. It’s a big improvement on Taco Bell.