It’s been a long time coming: my official review of Mags 99.
Here’s the thing: to the people of Squamish, Mags 99 isn’t just a fast food stop on the side of the highway. No, no, no – it’s an institution.
If I were to say something negative about it, there’s no doubt I would be ostracized from the community.
Sort of like that.
Luckily, I do like Mags 99, so people of Squamish, you can put down your pitchforks.
My introduction to Mags 99 occurred on a hike with two friends from Vancouver. One was saying how much she loved their Mexican food; the other was saying that it was vastly overrated. Here’s what I knew about Mags:
- Its site just off the highway and next to the gas station used to a house a combination Taco Bell/KFC.
- When it took over the site, it kept the tradition alive by serving both fried chicken and Mexican food, but both better than their chain fast food counterparts.
- It has witty billboards that I always look out for when I’m driving to and from the city.
- On its surface, many people believe it resembles Los Pollos Hermanos from Breaking Bad.
What I didn’t realize about Mags 99 is that it is a beloved landmark of Squamish, particularly among the rock climbing and mountain biking communities. Had I known this, I might not have chosen a sunny Saturday afternoon in summer to try it for the first time.
Imagine my surprise when I ordered my burrito from the counter – typical fast food style – and received it nearly an hour later – decidedly not fast food style! Hangry and rushed, I gobbled down the chicken burrito, which was the size of a 3 month old baby. It was good, but it didn’t blow my socks off.
It took a little while for me to figure out the art of Mags 99:
- Don’t be in a rush. The food takes forever, even if you go at 1 PM on a rainy Wednesday mid-winter. I’ve since learned that this wait is due to the fact that it is NOT like most fast foods – they don’t use frozen stuff that’s already half cooked. It’s fresh and it’s made with love. So take it easy.
- The pork is the BEST meat. The chicken burrito may have been just okay, but the pork burrito is A++++++.
- They have a smaller burrito size, which is better suited to my appetite size than the 3 month old baby size.
I’ll admit to the fact that I am a one trick pony – I always order the same thing. However, I have often drooled over other peoples’ orders. On my latest visit, I joined friends old and new who sampled a wide selection of the menu’s offerings: fried chicken, poutine, the daily special, and more. When I asked how they liked their food, I was told that everything was the best.
I don’t go to Mags 99 as often as some of my Squamish counterparts do, but I do firmly place myself in the pro-Mags category and will gladly accept an excuse to head down the highway for some of that sweet, sweet pork. One day, I may even expand my horizons and try something else on the menu.