Cuisine With Claire: Yo Quiero Bueno y Sano
By Claire Jen '10, Staff Writer
There are a few places in Amherst that always, without a doubt, taste just as delicious as the first time you went, and Bueno y Sano is one of them. While owned and operated by Bob Lowry since 1995, the four-store, local mini-empire serves food prepared mostly by a family from El Salvador. The family has become a bigger and bigger part of the chain, and their son, Rolando, is actually the owner of the new Springfield location.

Each restaurant looks pretty similar. The décor is almost reminiscent of what a new college cafeteria should look like: bright colors, friendly, fast service and extremely functional. Each meal is generously sized (not sure how healthy such a large serving is, but it is definitely good, living up to at least half of the restaurant’s name) and comes on a sweet metal plate that keeps your food hot for longer.

The menu is similar at all locations and covers the basic staples of burritos, tacos, quesadillas and salads. My personal favorite is any form of quesadilla (with preference towards steak). The chain uses a kind of cheese that, in my opinion, somehow tastes better than any other cheese on the planet. Aside from this particular ingredient, ordering quesadillas at Bueno also has the benefit of maximizing your dollar. While the burritos are massive (you seriously deserve an award if you can beast it effortlessly in one go), they don’t come with the beans, rice AND pico de gallo that the quesadillas are served with. Similarly, the tacos are cheaper and therefore best for a light afternoon snack, but my honest opinion regarding this place is that one must go big or go home. Bueno y Sano is best for those times when you have little money, are on the brink of starvation and are craving something 100 percent satisfying. To get even more out of your dollar, Bueno also offers frequent eater cards that they can hole-punch (so that you can get free food for every 10 times you visit) and almost always puts coupons in the coupon books sent out to students at the beginning of each year. User-friendly, most definitely.

While I am madly in love with the place for its food, the restaurant is so much more than just a feeding site. They are actively involved in the communities in which they are located and make it a point to give back. Bob Lowry is actively involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters, and was recently recognized for his wonderful work with the organization. It is not often that a restaurant chain is forthright, willing to partner with local charities and speaks to the great spirit of what “good and healthy” really means. If anything, eating at Bueno supports an incredibly inclusive and welcoming group of people. Notably, the coffee shop Rao’s also recently re-opened in part under Bob’s ownership, and I highly recommend checking both places out to support these great efforts.

Issue 18, Submitted 2010-03-09 21:48:02