Pancho’s Mexican food curbs munchies

When the 3 a.m. hankering strikes, it seems a Topekan’s only option for quick “Mexican” food is a microwave burrito. At least, that’s how it would seem to those who haven’t heard of Pancho’s Mexican food.

Despite what your foodie friends may have told you, the Poncho’s menu is filled with high quality made-from-scratch items designed to replicate authentic Mexican cuisine. It includes dozens of items suitable for breakfast, lunch and dinner; and 19 combination plates big enough to leave even the highly experienced eaters asking for a to-go box.

Of course, everything Pancho’s has to offer is blended with a traditional American fast-food vibe. The service is quick and accurate, and the interior is decked out in the usual table and booth fashion. The staff might seem a bit grudging at times, but they’re more than comfortable with special orders. Take the time to look over the menu, and the possibilities will seem endless.

Everything on the menu is reasonably priced, and although the combination plates are intended to be eaten singlehandedly, some of these dishes (the steak ranchero for one) could debatably feed a family of four. These plates are all priced just over $8, and are not recommend for the petite or faint of heart to take on alone. There are plenty more manageable items on the menu for less than $5 as well.

It takes some creativity to see that there is in fact nightlife in Topeka, and for those who indulge in such things, it’s good to be aware of which businesses are still open after 1 a.m. Since Pancho’s is open 24 hours a day, it’s a great option for college kids with designated drivers at bar closing time. What better way to end the night than with a fashionably giant steak burrito and a giant cup of water (which is also advised to prevent a hangover).

The Topeka Pancho’s location opened Dec. 21 of last year at 3506 S.W. Topeka Blvd. in the freestanding drive-through building where Taco John’s once failed to make ends meet in front of the geriatric White Lakes Mall. So far, Pancho’s seems to be fairly popular. Of course it helps to be part of the self-proclaimed largest Mexican restaurant brand in both Kansas and Missouri in terms of number of restaurants, according to their official website,