Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chipotle is still always packed?!

Last night about 8:30 I was at the Civic Plaza and decided to get some Chipotle. To my surprise, there was a huge line from the register all the way back around to the furthest door. It was the kind of line they had when they first opened.

Now I like Chipotle, but I don't think it's worth standing in a huge line for, especially when there's other good and quick fast food nearby, like Julia's Empanadas, Pollo Campero (I got a chicken bowl instead of Chipotle), all the spots at 14th and Irving, and more. 

I don't get it. What am I missing? Was it free beer day or something? Or are people that die hard for el Chipotle?

20 comments:

Eric said...

It's because Chipolte has good food as compared to the chicken place in the Plaza and seating. It also has a great location, which is always a key ingredient to success.

Anonymous said...

I'd say that the other taco/mexican/chicken joints are really hit or miss. I hear tacqueria distrito federale is amazing but none of these other places have a clean, modern and comfortable interior like Chipotle.

Jon said...

@Eric - Pollo Campero is gigantic, and only a few doors down. If you don't like the food, fine, that's your choice, but location and seating aren't the issue.

@Anonymous - Pollo Campero and Julia's ARE clean, modern, and comfortable.

I think the main reason is that Chipotle is familiar and the others, for many people, are not.

Joe said...

Yeah, don't understand the draw of Chipotle. As for Pollo Campero, it's decent, but I prefer Señor Chicken on the other side of 14th.

Williams said...

Can you imagine how crazy it'll be with the IHOP opening on Irving? 3am on Saturdays will never be the same in Columbia Heights.

Anonymous said...

isn't there a business development center or organization over there that can help the local, small businesses get a leg up on the chipotle chain? is this area included as mid-city?

Anonymous said...
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Andrew said...

Come on, no racism.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Andrew, I don't get the appeal of Chipotle. But it's owned by the good folks at McDonald's (along w/ PotBelly) - so they certainly know how to balance the salt, sugar and fat to keep you addicted to their food! The tacqueria federale is good - fish tacos are the best. Pollo Campero has great chicken, I get it to go and eat at home with some veggies.. yum! Haven't tried Senor Chicken yet, but it's on my list.

KR said...

Actually, Chipotle is its own publically traded company. McDonalds sold all of its interests in Chipotle in 2006.

Anonymous said...

I agree COMPLETELY. Love Chipotle and live in Columbia Heights, and I've still never gone because of the line, at any hour from 4 pm on.

That said, I highly, highly recommend Taqueria DF at 14th and Meridian or so. Great burritos, tacos, tostadas, and even Mexican breakfast.

Anonymous said...

Not really surprising... Look at those people in Georgetown lining up three blocks to get some lousy, cholesterol-filled cupcakes. Chipotle is just average food.

Great if the hordes can stay at their aseptic Chipotle, so that Taquería DF continues to be a cozy and true Latin place! Yummy!

Anonymous said...

Aw man, I missed the racism!

Anonymous said...

Let the rubes eat their Chipotle. Keeps it less packed in the good eateries.

Eric said...

@Jon - I ate last week at Pollo Camprende last week; I guess one might like if a stale dinner roll and overcooked chicken is their thing. (When I mentioned seating I was referring to Jelia's; I see that I was not clear about that. As for location, Chipolte is right on 14th St., whereas the other two require people which is a minor disadvantage from a marketing perspective.) Yes, there are lines at Chipolte (as there are at many of them) but they go quickly as you watch them freshly prepare your order. Living a half block from Taqueria Distrito I agree that it is an excellent place to eat, but in a different category from chain restaurants.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of spilling my secret, let me remind of Chipolte's wonderful Iphone app to place an order. You even have the option charging your credit card. Upon arrival, just walk to the front of the line and your order will already be waiting for you! Once it wasn't ready for some reason, so they just stopped the entire line and made my order. Iphone rules on this one!

13th and You said...

@Anonymous
Um, you don't need an iPhone to phone in an order and walk to the front of the line. Any phone will do.

Anonymous said...

Does every have phone have an application that lets you place orders by pushing a few buttons (spicy, pork, chicken, etc.)? Thats the point.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you can customize your order on the Iphone app. Add lettuce, etc. In fact, it is easier there than trying to talk to their staff where the noise level and English skills become an issue. You can even save your favorite order and reorder manyyyy times. Very cool!

Anonymous said...

Um, you guys are missing the point when comparing Chipotle to DF and the other places. They all offer slightly different experiences. When I want something quick and predictable, I go to Chipotle, and if I've got a little more time, I go to DF.

Obviously given how well all these places are doing, there is room for both kinds of restaurant. There's a pretty sizable Latino contingent to Chipotle's patronage -- I know white Columbia Heights hipsters are known for their finely honed sense of irony, so perhaps that explains the irony that they're the only ones worrying about whether or not the food's "authentic."