Apparently, Chipotle Mexican Grill is on it's way to the Duke City. Location: the old Shoney's site at Menaul and Louisiana. I wonder how they'll fare in the land of New Mexican cuisine?

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McDonald's got its start here at Lomas and San Pedro, I believe, and put down roots like kudzu, infecting every village with a population of more than a few hundred. Once it was here you couldn't get rid of it because of the big M that was proof positive there was a restroom where you didn't have to ask for a key. Likely it is the leading cause of diabetes in the state as well as obesity.

I am not sure how they will do here. I tried it once in the Denver area and it was OK, nothing to write home about.



I second that. I ate there in Tucson several times and was never particularly impressed. Not bad, but a pale substitute for the true Mission burrito experience (or even a reasonable facsimile). Since ABQ lacks a decent local California-style burrito since the demise of Bumble Bee, maybe that'll be enough to get me through the door, but color me meh.
Chipolte's in Burque? Isn't that like putting a donkey in a race with thoroughbreds, a cactus in a bed of roses?

Ben, I don't agree with your cactus in a bed of roses analogy ;)  Many botanists believe cacti probably evolved from a rose type plant.  Also, most cacti have incredibly beautiful blooms- check out the Queen of the Night, Claret Cup, Easter Lily Cactus, etc.  :) :)



Hey!  We have a Chipotle here in Charlottesville!  I've never gotten up enough nerve to try it since after 35 years in NM, I'm kind of particular about "Mexican" food.

35 years in NM, you need some NM chile products. Check us out at


You are right about Chipotle's, you want real NM Mexican food. I tried it in Denver, it was alright but you know the real thing!


On the surface it seems weird that Chipotle would open up in Albuquerque since the town already has an abundance of mexican food restaurants.  But Chipotle's food is more baja style, i.e., corn, black beans, and whole pinto beans instead of refried.  Also, their burritos aren't smothered in green/red chile and melted cheese.  I love New Mexican style food, but Chipotle, like Bumblebee's did, will offer a slightly different alternative.  

All in all I think Chipotle is decent, not awful but not great either.  

I agree, Chipotle is a totally different style of burrito than what you can get locally. Ever since I moved here from San Francisco area, I've been bemoaning the loss of my beloved mission style burrito.  Nothing here is similar. Plenty that's good, sure, but completely different.

To me, mission/baja style is all about black beans, whole beans, cilantro-lime rice, fresh bright flavors, a certain lightness (no smothering), and -- most importantly -- deeply flavored char-grilled chicken.  For some reason, 95% of the chicken burritos I've had around here seem to essentially contain unseasoned wet, poached chicken. Not terribly appealing to me. (Taco Cabana is the notable exception.  Their chicken is decent, for sure, but the overall burrito still doesn't match the mission burrito experience).   Maybe it's just that the focus is more on other meats in New Mexican cuisine.

Either way, Chipotle is a welcome alternative for me.  Incidentally, it's a great place to take little kids for a meal when on the road-- you can give them quite healthy basic ingredients (beans, rice, chicken, tortilla) but still have the convenience of a "fast food" restaurant.  (My kids have never seen the inside of a McDonald's or the like, so I'm glad to have this kind of option.)

Instead of Chipotle, go to Salsita's in the mini mall at San Mateo and Cutler. 

Frankly I find this a lot more interesting as far as ABQ Mexican food options go...
In general I'm a fan of Chipotle, having eaten at the original and a few of the early ones around Denver; while I'm not a huge fan of the owner/CEO or whatever he calls himself, the restaurant isn't bad.  They try to promote local products and seem to be a good corporate neighbor (as much as that is possible.)  I even remember seeing word that Chipotle had divested the McDonald's share of the company and was now on its own again.  If that's true or not I can't say, but there ya go.  On the other hand, yeah, truly local businesses might be better/more hip/economically challenged, etc.  So support the locals, but don't deny that Chipotle at least promotes the idea of a better corporation.  I think they could really use some great local cross-pollination in Albuquerque and pick up a better green chile as well as some other ideas.  Now if you were to announce that Tocabe was opening a shop in NM I'd be there with big ol' bells on!


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