Watch: Ricky Powell, the original Lazy Hustler talks about the burrito.
When Steve met up with his longtime friend, photographer Ricky Powell, he knew that he had to treat him to something special. After all, the celebrity photos lining the wall of Eva’s were all thanks to Ricky Powell. Thus, the Lazy Hustler burrito was born; Tamara Palmer tells the story:
Graze on Ricky Powell’s Lazy Hustler Burrito
by Tamara Palmer
Shots of body builders and rap stars taken by photographer Ricky Powell adorn a wall at Eva’s Kitchen in New York City, an establishment the self-described “Lazy Hustler” has been patronizing for 30 years. Now, owner and cookbook author Steve Kapelonis is paying homage to the iconic image-maker with the Lazy Hustler, a vegetarian falafel burrito.
As with many establishments in New York, the word burrito is often misused to describe what’s actually a wrap, and the Lazy Hustler is a healthy alternative to the true burrito with its inclusions of brown rice, lettuce, tomato, and cucumber. A lot of wraps won’t make you stop craving a burrito, but this one nails it with a good balance of texture and flavor, plus a proper burrito-like structure that pretty much ensures you’ll actually taste all of the items in each bite.
A whole wheat wrap is first layered with a choice of hummus or babaganoush (we suggest the latter). The hustle is anchored with soft and flavorful falafel and brown rice and then laden with a pinto and black bean chili and tahini sauce.
Watch: The Lazy Hustler Burrito in 15 seconds.
“Between me and the lamppost, I go into a state of mind of serendipitous Shangri-La when I go in on a Lazy Hustler special”, says the man who inspired it all.
Who is Ricky Powell?
Ricky Powell has been documenting the streets of NYC since 1961, capturing actors, musicians, performers, and artists. His photographs have been featured in The New York Times, The New York Post, Rolling Stone, and many more publications. His subjects have included the Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Public Enemy, Rakim, Slick Rick, LL Cool J, Elizabeth Taylor just to name a few. What sets him apart from other photographers is Ricky is a very in-the-moment type of person. You wouldn’t see Ricky giving out business cards saying “Professional Photographer for weddings, graduations, etc.” Rather, Ricky has worked many odd jobs including busboy, substitute teacher, and dog walker, always with his instamatic camera tucked under his arm. It is this spontaneity that has allowed him to capture photographs that are organic and intimate.
Ricky Powell was born and raised in New York City. He graduated with an AA in Liberal Arts from LaGuardia Community College and received a B.S. in Physical Education from Hunter College. Nowadays he can be seen roaming the neighborhood he calls home, Greenwich Village. To learn more about Ricky Powell, please visit his website.
My name is Steve Kapelonis and I grew up in Eva’s. I started working in Eva’s when I was 14 and that’s where I met Ricky. He used to come to the store and we’ve been good friends ever since then. I left Eva’s to open up The Pump and from there I left New York for about ten years. I was in California doing restaurant consulting until my brother, Alex, asked me to come back to help out with Eva’s. It felt like the circle of life; I was right back where I started. It was great because I grew up in The Village and made a lot of friends here. It was a great opportunity for me to come back too because of all the nice people here. One of the people I saw right away when I got back was Ricky Powell. He’s like a brother to me and I appreciate everything he does. I got inspired when I saw him after all these years. I remembered that he was a vegetarian, so one day when he was in Eva’s, I went back into the kitchen and I put this falafel burrito together. He tried it and he was like ‘wow’! I just came back from California to New York and I put a little west and east together, and boom, that’s The Lazy Hustler Burrito.”
Watch: The creation of the Lazy Hustler Burrito becomes a New York staple.