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A chain of Mexican-style restaurants

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A Step Above Taco-Bell, And Lately That Isn't Saying Much

  • Mar 6, 2007
  • by
Pros: Fast food; fresh ingredients; reasonably fast service.

Cons: Where’s the beef, or chicken? Mediocre sit-down experience.

The Bottom Line: Chipotle is just another in a long line of boutique eateries that offer just okay food for ridiculously high prices.

My wife loves Mexican food; me I am not as enthusiastic about the cuisine, but I do enjoy my occasional steak burrito. There is a dearth of Mexican restaurants in out ever-growing city, thanks in no small part to the burgeoning Latino population. So we have sampled the local fair, but most fall short of spectacular. For the last two years our local favorite has been a chain restaurant, On The Border, but my wife was tiring of ordering the same ole thing because she doesn’t like the wider menu choices. So we are always on the lookout for a new Mexican restaurant, and this past weekend we decided to drop in on the local Chipotle (Mexican Grill); I can safely say that that was the our first and last visit.

Just a step above Taco-Bell, with far fewer menu choices, Chipotle is a small foot-print fast food establishment that mostly serves tacos and burritos. The interior of the restaurant is ugly minimalist wood and stainless steel. There were of course loose tables and benches, with some aligned along the restaurant windows. The seats were horrifically ugly and uncomfortable, and the art on the wall was equally as ugly and abstract, made as it was of wood and aluminum. The overall interior lacked character and imagination.

Like a Chinese fast food joint like Panda Express, the food is arrayed along a long counter in metal containers, warmed from underneath. And while of the food is fresh, the meat may or may not be freshly cooked.

The Food

As I mentioned above Chipotle serves just two types of main course: tacos and (gourmet) burritos. Ingredients that go into the staples include pork, shredded beef, steak, chicken, as well as rice, beans, corn, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, guacamole, and salsa—hot or mild. While the vegetables and other ancillary ingredients looked and tasted fresh, the meats were not. They were not cooked fresh and were cut into small chucks instead of long thin fajita strips, and were for the most part cold and tough.

The menu consists of three type of burrito; the regular burrito, the fajita burrito, burrito bol (burrito or fajita in a bowl, no tortilla); tacos and salad. All of these can be had with your choice of marinated chicken, steak, pork (Carnitas), or shredded beef.

My wife and I both ordered a fajita burrito; she ordered hers with chicken, and I ordered mine with steak. They were wrapped in a tortilla given a scant helping of meat, a heaping spoonful of Cilantro-Lime rice and fajita vegetables, cheese and salsa. My wife opted for guacamole, which I hate, and I add chili-corn salsa to mine. The end result was a fat burrito with little meat and lots of rice and vegetables and other fillers. Three bites into the burrito and I had yet to hit meat; my wife had a simulate experience. Needless to say were disappointed, since neither of us is a vegetarian; we wanted some meat thank you.

Not that the rest of the ingredients weren’t tasty; as it turns out the fajita vegetables were fresh and crisp, as was the corn and lettuce, but the salsa and side order of chips were not to what we were used to from On The Border. We ate them because we were hungry and we did pay for them. And speaking of paying, out meal came to a whopping $17.59 for two fajita burritos, a basket of chips and two medium sodas; altogether a bit much for what we got.


Needless to say we will not be making a return trip to Chipotle any time soon. El Famous Burrito, a local restaurant chain, offers the same type of cuisine in a similar setting does it better and for less. And Taco-Bell may not be a hip, but it does offer a lot more menu choices and seriously lower prices.

Chipotle is just another in a long line of boutique eateries that offer just okay food for ridiculously high prices in a setting that is supposed to be trendy, but is shabby chic instead. No thanks!

Chipolte Mexican Grill Fox Valley, Aurora, IL
848 N. Rt. 59
Aurora, IL 60504
(630) 851-3271


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More Chipotle reviews
review by . April 12, 2011
I have been a longtime fan of Chipotle, and their massive, two meal burritos. Lately though, I have not been able to handle a whole mass that is the Chipotle Burrito. I have sometimes tried it in a bowl, or as a salad, but it all seemed the same to me.     This week it dawned on me out of all the times I have been there, I have never ordered tacos before. Crispy tacos are one of my favorite foods, but I rarely get them since I am a vegetarian. I was a little hesitant to order …
review by . December 14, 2008
Didn't anyone get the memo?  McDonalds hasn't had anything to do with Chipotle in years!  Just wanted to get that out of the way.      When I first visited Chipotle, for some reason, I expected actual Mexican food, like something I would get at my local mom and pop taqueria.  Instead, I was disappointed to find that my veggie burrito tasted more like an American deli wrap than a Mexican burrito.        There was something odd about Chipotle.  …
review by . February 24, 2010
Looking for a quick and tasty lunch when you must eat gluten-free can be challenging at best. And if you’ve got small children, you know can't let them go hungry for too long or you’re really asking for it! The Mexican food chain Chipotle recently opened in a shopping mall in my area, so I decided to give it a try. I started with my usual questions about tortillas and fryers and cross-contamination and marinades (sigh!), when to my surprise, the worker handed me an allergen card …
Quick Tip by . November 26, 2010
I like Chipotle but think it is a little too Americanized. As long as you don't expect authentic Mexican, you will probably enjoy it.
Quick Tip by . June 07, 2010
This is my absolute favorite Mexican "fast-food" type place. It's addicting. Burrito bols are the best as there's not the extra calories of the burrito and it's easier to eat!
Quick Tip by . March 18, 2010
Usually a good fast meal that I can eat out.
Quick Tip by . February 25, 2010
posted in Awesomeness
Yum, the burrito bowl can really hit the spot. I'm also a fan of their salty chips and guac!
Quick Tip by . November 24, 2009
I like this restaurant because it has a tasty burritos and its flavor is unique
Quick Tip by . October 07, 2009
Chipotle is kind of pricey for fast food, but their soft veggie tacos, guac, and $3.75 margaritas FTW! :)
Quick Tip by . October 07, 2009
Can't eat it too frequently, but I definitely love it when I do!
About the reviewer
Vincent Martin ()
Ranked #187
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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About this restaurant


Chipotle Mexican Grill is a chain of fast-casual Mexican-style restaurants best known for its large burritos and chunky guacamole. In addition, it is one of the first restaurants to successfully transition to the fast-casual style of dining. The restaurant was founded in 1993 by Steve Ells of Denver, CO (where the company is currently headquartered).

McDonald's used to have a majority share in Chipotle; however, full disinvestment was completed in October 2006. The restaurant chain employs more than 18,000 workers and currently operates in 32 US states, as well as the District of Columbia and the Canadian province of Ontario.

Today, Chipotle restaurants serve chicken, beef, and pork in burrito, bowl, or taco formats. The restaurant is also making a transition to using more healthy ingredients and naturally raised farm animals as a means of responding to a growing nationwide trend in healthier eating.
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