Behind the Big Wrap Counter with Barbara (Babs) Menendez
Big Wrap owner Barbara (Babs) Menendez, who’s been rolling them since 1996, shares a typical day:
The guys in the kitchen arrive anywhere between 7:30 a.m. and 8. We open at 10, and during high season, we serve about 550 to 600 wraps and salads a day. My favorite time is during the middle of the chaos. My staff makes it look easy, but it’s not—especially when you consider we are working out of 625 square feet and all of our food is made from scratch.
The Pesto Wrapture; the poblano cilantro pesto is killer—and it’s vegan. The most popular special is the Pilgrim’s Grub, served every Thursday year-round except Thanksgiving Day. I don’t eat wraps at work—there’s not enough time—but I do eat one or two tacos a day. And, no, I am not sick of our food!
We have a lot of regulars who come in three to six days a week. I see them in line and just start making their usual wrap or salad. One customer has eaten the same thing every day for as long as I can remember. He has his own bowl stashed at the store.
Is the customer always right?
I think that phrase comes from some suit who never worked with the general public. Ninety-five percent of our customers are easy to deal with and appreciate a freshly prepared meal at a reasonable price. Most of the weird requests come from people who stand in line for 20 minutes without looking at the menu and start asking for, say, ham and cheese sandwiches with pickles. I also had one person ask to use the microwave to heat up a frozen entrée bought at City Market, then sat and ate it without buying anything. I just laughed!
What's your post-work routine?
We close at 6, and it then takes about an hour to clean up. I like to cook dinner at home. I head to bed around 11 and watch about 20 minutes of whatever Netflix show I’m currently obsessed with.