Wilbur Mexicana


I have been meaning to try this place out ever since it opened right by my work. The unique warm yellow wordmark and crowds of people sparked my interest.


Upon entering, we stepped on a floor mosaic with "Parke Davis 1912". We read up on Wilbur Lincoln Scoville a bit. He was an American pharmacist best known for his creation of the "Scoville Organoleptic Test", most heard of it a standardized Scoville scale. The mosaic is meaningful because the test and scale were devised in 1912 while Wilbur was working at the Parke-Davis pharmaceutical company. It was meant to measure piquancy, or "hotness", of various chili peppers.


Looking up, one can see plenty of trendy custom clipboards (menus) to the sides, followed by the cash registers. Above the registers are a few perforated boards with 3D letters - the drinks menu and a Wilbur How to Guide. We went for The Original Wilbur-rito (chicken) and their Classic Quesadillas. A pricier fish option is also available from the Wilbur-rito - Baja fish. The prices were reasonable overall. We were given a sign with a cute hot pepper illustration on it after we completed our order. 


It didn't take us long to find a spot in their stylish space, right under a mural with different hot pepper names. This was one of the many instances of casual writing on white tile inside the restaurant. Wilbur’s colour theme is clean & classy but it's the random primary colours and yellow elements that spice it all up. A few interior details to drool over in this hard loft space: very tall blackened out ceiling, comfortable pipe foot rests, tall chairs, marble table tops and a large custom light structure with chemical flasks ( a subtle tribute to Wilbur). The part that made sure we don't physically drool was the extremely loud hip-hop music. I asked the lady at the register if that is always the case and she didn't even seem to notice it, just said it varies. The music did not get any quieter throughout our experience, all songs with a beat to feel. If one has a slight headache coming in, beware!


Our food didn't take long to arrive. The neatest part about the presentation was the casually dressed waiters. For all we knew, they were simply well-dressed customers. Their outfits had nothing in common. We were warned about the fresh hot chips on the side of the burrito. The chips were extremely oily (to be expected, I guess). The burrito itself was good, but nothing overly exciting. It came with black beans, pico de gallo, cheddar, jack, guac, lettuce, sour cream and the meat. The Quesadillas were extremely hard to eat, as their red oily sauce was dripping everywhere. Definitely not something one should have on a date or a business meeting. Ingredients wise - cheddar, jack, chicken tinga, poblano (a mild pepper), red pepper, onion. It came with a site of a guacamole - an extremely bland one. Not sure why they were afraid to add spices and herbs…


In retrospect we missed step 4 of the “Wilbur How to Guide” - their salsa bar! A stand with plenty of salsas and bottled sauces - predominantly hot. In that area was also a draft soda fountain. These were definitely several essential things worth coming back for.

A quick note, the Wilbur wordmark was a bit excessive - cups, napkins, paper bags. Even though elegant, once repeated so many times, it loses its finesse. They can reply benefit from a secondary visual language to their brand perhaps the little illustrations?

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