Mexican-American food seems to be more popular than ever these days, and burrito locations are on the rise. When Chipotle Mexican Grill first came to Atlanta a couple of years ago, it was all the rage. One successful location gave way to many more, and their friendly competitor Moe’s Southwest Grill wasn’t far behind. So what is it about these burrito chains that make them so successful? How do they differ from each other? Most importantly, where can you score a mouth watering burrito near you?
Chipotle was founded by chef Steve Ells, who dreamt of making a gourmet burrito but never intended on opening more than the first Chipotle restaurant (in Colorado). Steve’s vision has spread to nearly every state, with almost a dozen locations in Connecticut alone. The company prides itself on smart, sustainable produce, supporting farmers who use ethical techniques and free-range animals (unlike the poor animal treatment at Wal-Mart’s Christensen Farms). The policy of using fresh ingredients and producing “food with integrity” means customers can feel good about bringing business to a company that is mindful of the environment, animals, and farmers. The cilantro-infused rice and amazingly delicious guacamole are added perks.
Nearly a decade after the first Chipotle location was opened in Denver, Moe’s was founded in Atlanta, Georgia in 2000. Similar to Chipotle, Moe’s prides themselves on high-quality ingredients. They obtain their meat from farmers who practice cage-free techniques and have steroid-free animals, fed with grass. They also feature organic tofu and their menu does not contain any trans fats or harmful msg. One interesting fact about Moe’s, according to their website, is that their locations play music of artists who have passed on – so you won’t be hearing any current Top 40’s if you dine in. Many locations feature “Moe’s Monday’s,” which offers customers a burrito and drink combo at a discounted cost. No matter what day of the week you stop in to Moe’s, you’ll receive a heaping helping of tortilla chips with every meal. The salsa bar is also a fun way to taste different dips for your chips.
So what’s with the rise in popularity of the burrito? Perhaps it’s the trendy new twist on the Mexican classic, and the appeal to organic food lovers. Perhaps it’s the convenience of grabbing one on the go and not needing any utensils to eat a darn good meal, or the fact that you can conveniently place an order from a few touches of the iPhone (yes, there’s an app for that). Or perhaps it’s just that they are so tasty no one can resist.
Chipotle and Moe’s are worthy opponents to each other. The two chains have more in common than not; the pride behind quality ingredients and responsible partners and suppliers are shared by both companies. Both feature custom-built burritos, allowing patrons to walk along the burrito bar and choose their fillings (think Subway, but Mexican). They both make a killer burrito and some mean guacamole – and everyone you talk to is going to have an opinion on whose they like better. It’s really a matter of personal taste. Both companies having numerous locations across the state, it’s easy to try them both and compare. What’s your favorite?