Now normally I blog about technology, for those who actually read, but today I’m going to talk about something almost as near and dear to my heart… Food! Everyone eats food and like most Americans, I love food. This idea is something I’ve been working on for a few years after falling in love with the fast-casual Mexican food restaurants. These restaurants have been around for a while, but now they are really mainstream. Nowadays Chipotle is to food as Starbucks is to coffee. First, I’m going to list all the restaurants I’ve eaten at, in alphabetical order for simplicity, then rank them as best as I can. Read on for more!
Founded in 1990, Baja Fresh is one of the originators of the pseudo-mexican burrito joints.
They quickly became the underdog as Chipotle soared in the media.
Just recently was my first ever trip to Baja Fresh as they have no locations near me.
My first impression was that this was more authentic then the rest with more traditional offerings then your basic burrito.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard of Chipotle, and quite possibly have eaten there. Chipotle was founded in 1993, then funded by McDonalds from 1998-2006 and that help spur their growth. Now they focus on fresh food, ethical animal treatment, and GMO free ingredients. Chipotle has a basic selection, but keeps you coming back for more.
Madre’s Mexican is a small four-location chain in my area that does their very best Chipotle imitation. Madre’s takes a more fun approach to the burrito game with their creative signage and menu. Madre’s is on this list because of how good they are. I’m sure there are other small outfits like Madre’s out there that have the same quality, but I can’t possibly try them all. Madre’s feels more like a food truck than a full-blown restaurant, which has its advantages.
Moe’s Southwest Grill is a very different restaurant, from their standard “Welcome to Moe’s!” greeting all the way to their wacky, movie/TV-inspired menu items. Founded in late 2000, they’re often looked at as the other guys. Moe’s has a standard offering of Mexican-inspired menu items and not much surprises.
Qdoba was founded in the mid-90s but did not become the Qdoba we know until 1999. Like all the other restaurants, Qdoba has similar offerings, but as of late they have been venturing outside of the box. The big thing with Qdoba is variety. You can get a wide variety of meals and toppings over the traditional Chipotle choices.
I’ve had at least one chicken burrito at all of these locations. Now that I’ve given you an overview of each restaurant, let’s take a look at how I rank them, starting with the burrito I liked the least.
5. Baja Fresh
Great tasting tortilla chips
Large variety, including churros!
Expensive for what you get
Menu is not ‘build-your-own’ friendly
Workers are hidden while preparing your food
4. Moe’s Southwest Grill
Endless tortilla chips
Oddly named menu items
Not a lot of variety
Doesn’t always feel freshly made
Not everyone gets the menu names
3. Madre’s Mexican
Not too expensive
Lots of toppings
Food not always fresh, not a lot of volume
Can be bland sometimes
2. Qdoba Mexican Grill
Great rewards program
A bit pricey
Confusing menu items
Long wait times
1. Chipotle Mexican Grill
Some bland flavors
Extras make it pricey
Lack of variety
Long wait times
*As I continue to eat more… burritos, I will update this post and rankings as they change. Stay tuned! BB