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19 Years of Serving Big-Ass Burritos in Mt Pleasant: Get Down with Budgie’s at The Lido TONIGHT!

Budgie’s Burritos is a Mount Pleasant vegetarian burrito joint popular for its huge portions and depth of character – which comes courtesy of its owner, Macey Budgell. As of this month (February, 2024) Budgie’s has been sustaining students, musicians, artists, skateboarders, and the larger community by serving up tasty, honest and affordable food for 19 years.

To celebrate this milestone, Budgell is throwing a party at The Lido TONIGHT! If you’re looking for somewhere to dance the night away in a crowd of nice, fun-loving people, this is it. In the meantime, get to know your hostess and Budgie’s founder, Macey Budgell, below…

Music plays a significant role at Budgie’s. For your upcoming 19th anniversary dance party at The Lido, what songs are you going to sing along to? We’ll be grooving to 4.5 hours of my favourite dance tunes spanning various genres. Expect some B-side disco and R&B tracks from the ’70s, pop hits from 2000-2006, ’90s house music, and classic dance/pop hits from the ’80s and ’90s. Artists like Diana Ross, Sylvester, Paris Hilton, Janet Jackson, Benny Benassi, Vengaboys, Ricky Martin, Robin S, Madonna, Britney Spears, SOS Band, and a couple of new dance tracks will set the vibe. I particularly enjoy the lesser-known songs by these artists that still pack a punch on the dance floor!

That’s a mixed bag of genres! Take us back to the beginning: what was the first concert you ever attended? Very first show: Gowan – who was coincidentally playing at Calaway Park when I was there. But the first concert I bought tickets for was INXS during their Kick tour when I was 12. Before that, I begged my parents to take me to concerts by Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Madonna, Tina Turner, Mötley Crüe, and Tears for Fears — all to no avail!

Mount Pleasant has been built up, torn/burnt down, and been in a general state of flux since Budgie’s opened back in the early aughts. What do you miss most about the neighbourhood of the past? What’s your current favourite thing about Mount Pleasant? I miss The Foundation [former Mount Pleasant vegetarian restaurant that shut doors after 15 years of business at 2301 Main Street in February 2017] the most — it was the go-to restaurant, second only to Budgie’s, of course! The neighbourhood hasn’t quite felt the same since it closed. However, I’m thrilled that Kingsgate Mall remains unchanged and resilient. I also cherish establishments like Antisocial Skateboard Shop, The Lido, The Acorn, The Arbor, Liberty Bakery, Gene Coffee Bar, and Kranky Cafe. Additionally, I love the influx of vintage stores in MP, with a special shoutout to our neighbour Dig-It Vintage!

Over the past 19 years, Budgie’s has welcomed some notable figures into your restaurant. What’s your most memorable celebrity encounter, and what did they order? I’ll share my personal celebrity story: Once, Matt Dillon came in while I was taking orders. Internally, I was freaking out because Over the Edge and The Outsiders were huge for me growing up. In an attempt to act cool, I pretended not to recognize him — typical of my flirting technique! Short story long, I asked him his named for the order; he looked so stunned and answered with “Dillon”, and I still acted like I had no clue who he was. I regret that now; I wish I geeked out/got my photo taken with him. Unfortunately, I can’t recall what he ordered; I was too busy trying to be ‘cool’.

Budgie’s has hosted some legendary after-parties. Which one stands out as the most memorable, and what was the occasion? Our 10th anniversary party takes the cake for the most epic celebration of my life! We had an incredible Prince impersonator from Portland, backed by a group of phenomenal female musicians. They played for hours, and the energy was electric. Many of us dressed up, and the party lasted well into the early hours. Making that party happen remains one of my proudest achievements.

Speaking of Prince: Over the years we’ve noticed a rotation of Prince-inspired posters and art at Budgie’s. How many times have you seen him perform live? Only once in real life, but I see him all the time in my dreams.

Your burritos are fully loaded – backstory included! If you were to introduce a new addition to the Budgie’s burrito family, who would be your influence, what’s going in it, and why? The inspiration would be Michelle Pezel, the owner of Antisocial Skate Shop. Given her sweet tooth and vegan lifestyle, the burrito would be super sweet and entirely vegan. Michelle is not just a huge inspiration, but also one of the finest individuals I’ve ever encountered. She deserves a statue in Mount Pleasant, not just a burrito named after her! She should be the damn Mayor of MP.

Running a small business is notoriously challenging. In your view, what three things could the municipal government do to support small businesses? I’m genuinely curious — what does the municipal government do for small businesses in the first place?

Rollerskating or skateboarding? Skateboarding, hands down.

Dogs or cats? Both. But at the moment, I have the best dog in the world, so if I had to choose it would be ‘dog’.

Forest or beach? That’s a hard one! I don’t love sitting at beach, but I like sun and warmth. I don’t love a forest, because of murderers, but I love a tree sometimes.

Barstool or booth? BOOTH! I’m a Taurus. I love comfort, coziness and safety (all the things a barstool is not).

Black beans or refried pintos? MIX – I always get both.

A look at Budgies:

Budgie's Burritos
Neighbourhood: Main Street
44 Kingsway

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