Fighting Burrito owner advocates equity

Matthew Goodman explains his views about Campustown in response to an Ames citizen’s proposal. Goodman is a member of the Ames City Council as well as an advocate for many restaurants and stands in the Campustown District.

Tedi Mathis

Students riding on CyRide may have noticed the new signs advertising The Fighting Burrito. What they may also notice is the fact that these signs are not in English, but rather, Chinese. 

Owner of The Fighting Burrito, Matthew Goodman, has installed signs in Chinese in all CyRide buses to advertise his restaurant.

Students from China make up a majority of the international students here at Iowa State, and this diversity is what inspired Goodman.

“I showed this one sector of our community that everyone is welcome here,” Goodman said. “This idea of creating a world full of equality has really been a thing for me.”

This passion for equity is not limited to his work with The Fighting Burrito. Goodman is also an at-large representative for the Ames City Council, meaning he does not specifically represent one of the four districts of Ames.

Goodman was initially elected in 2003 and began his first term as City Council member Jan. 1, 2004. Though his goal while serving the city has evolved, Goodman says he was inspired to run in order “to change how the community viewed the student lifestyle.” As a recent graduate from Iowa State at this time, Goodman was able to provide a fresh perspective of student views for the city.

As a student, Goodman worked for the gyro stand on Welch Avenue and jokes that he loved making money on the weekends while others were spending it. He eventually purchased the stand, and when a new business in Campustown tried to have it moved, students rallied to support Goodman.

“All these students came out to help me,” Goodman said, so he decided to help them in return by running for Ames City Council. This leadership role was not new territory for Goodman, having been involved in many different organizations at Iowa State, including the Government of the Student Body and the Memorial Union Board of Directors.

Goodman’s current term as council member expires in 2015, and he did not comment on whether he intends to run again.

Along with owning The Fighting Burrito, Goodman owns Lorry’s Coffee, Smiles and Gyros, and Superdog. He also operates Battles Bar-B-Q, which he is looking to build upon.

Currently, Goodman is working on the opening of a second location for The Fighting Burrito in Des Moines. The restaurant is approximately twice as large as their Ames location and will seat about three times as many people. People can expect the opening of this location to land sometime in early November, and Goodman says he expects the new restaurant to be very successful.