« Veranda's New Wine Room & Chef's Table | Main | Gourmet: Bright Star Stands Test of Time »

Check Out Chipotle

We're not all that fond of chains, generally preferring locally owned independent restaurants because they typically offer better quality food, service and atmosphere. BUT there are always exceptions to every rule, and if you're looking for a quick-food option, Chipotle Mexican Grill is hard to beat. One opened up across from the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover about a year ago, and I decided it might be worth a try after reading a couple of articles about how the chain is committed to using fresh, natural, sustainably raised ingredients. (There's also a location in Inverness that opened recently on Hwy. 280.)

Here's how they explain it on their web site: " 'Food With Integrity' isn't a marketing slogan. ... It's a philosophy that we can always do better in terms of the food we buy. And when we say better, we mean better in every sense of the word -- better tasting, coming from better sources, better for the environment, better for the animals, and better for the farmers who raise the animals and grow the produce."

And the results are evident in the taste of the food. You choose a burrito, tacos, burrito bowl or salad, then go down the line and customize the ingredients, telling the person behind the counter what you want and how much. I chose a burrito with carnitas (pork) and pinto beans. All come with cilantro-lime rice, and I got just a little bit of cheese and sour cream, and the medium-spiced tomatillo-green chili salsa. The burrito was huge and delicious. The beans tasted like home-cooked pintos, the pork was as good or better as I've had at any local Mexican restaurants, and the whole thing had a fresh flavor you just won't find at other quick-food chains.

Posted on Monday, November 24, 2008 at 10:51AM by Registered CommenterDeborah Lockridge in | Comments8 Comments

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (8)

I have never eaten at a Chipotle but I have heard it was rather good, fast casual dining especially since it split from it's parent company, McDonald's, several years ago.

I will never forget seeing a Chipotle in China. Very interesting, the locals would dress up, think Sunday best, to eat there. It was packed and we couldn't get in.

Since there were no servers, people would stay for a long time with their extended families. It is customary to eat and leave in most Chinese establishments Chipotle had a different set of rules and the food must have been good.

Off to start my first turkey for dressing. Wish all a good Thanksgiving.

Chipotle is one of my favorite fast food restaurants. I first ate at one in Minnesota, and I fell in love with their food. After finding out that there was one here in Birmingham, I immediately went and ate some of the best and freshest burritos that you will find. You most certainly get your money's worth here with their huge burritos for only about $7.

November 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteruab dude

I'm not a big fan of Chipotle. The prices do not include any sides, so you end up spending as much or more than if you went to a traditional sit-down restaurant. Yes, there are Mexican restaurants that use "fresh"ingredients too. Frankly, I was not impressed with the supposed "fresness" of Chipotle's ingredients and the dishes themselves were rather plain and lacking in flavor.

December 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug R

In response to Doug R, maybe I need to clarify: I'm not saying Chipotle is better than going to a sit-down Mexican restaurant; rather, I'm saying it's better (albeit more expensive) than most quick/fast food alternatives, a pleasant surprise for a chain.

December 2, 2008 | Registered CommenterDeborah Lockridge

Chipotle is not meant to replace the standard "Mexican" combo places that litter Birmingham. However (unfortunately?), it's about as close to a Mission-style burrito that you can get in this town. The majority of the Mexican places here serve something called a burrito that is about as far from Mission-style as I have ever seen. Sauce/toppings on a burrito? No thanks.

Qdoba is another example of the same style, but it's just plain ... well plain and gross.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdrb

I've also enjoyed Chipotle the two times I've visited it. Definitely the best of the newer "fast food" Mexican chains.

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

I went to chipotle yesterday and was appaled by their serving of portions. Seems like they are in a food conservation mode. For $6, you would expect some more food. I was expected them to fill the Bol that I ordered.

September 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDrComment

For those who complain about the prices -- you have to pay more for higher-quality ingredients. For some of us, it's worth it. For those who don't think so, there's always Taco Bell.

September 30, 2010 | Registered CommenterDeborah Lockridge

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>