Boulder’s Evol Foods rethinks the frozen burrito.
Giving the tour of his roaring boulder burrito factory, a hard hat–wearing Phil Anson proudly stirs a vat of freshly made, organic salsa. “Why can’t you love your burrito, love your food?” he asks in a way that feels part-sermon, part-PR. For the past decade, Anson has been working to recast the frozen burrito—that college-era, convenience store, quick-calorie fix—as a wholesome food. His earnest enthusiasm about the topic sometimes channels celeb chef Jamie Oliver (right down to the jeans, pearl-snap shirt, and perfectly tousled hair). • Anson named his burrito company Evol (“love” spelled backwards). And the company’s commitment to sustainably raised meats, hormone-free cheeses, and all-natural, organic ingredients (with no preservatives) does make it, well, lovable. Health food chains such as Whole Foods now carry Evol’s expanding line of products (including flatbreads, pizzas, and burrito bowls) across the country.
Anson launched the company, originally called Phil’s Fresh Foods, as a kid out of college. An avid climber, the University of Denver grad sold his handmade burritos from a cooler at the climbing crags in Eldorado Canyon—energy grub for the Boulder rad dudes. By 2002, he’d acquired his factory and was distributing all-natural burritos regionally. Five years later Anson went national, and in 2009, Tom Spier and Brendan Synnott, the guys who created Bear Naked Granola, approached. Under their partnership and tutelage came the name change and the new product lines (capturing more of the frozen-food market). But that original, humble climber mission remains: good, nourishing food for not a lot of cash. “Burritos are often just crap,” Anson says, “but they don’t have to be.”