The /FastFood subreddit is for news, reviews, and discussions of fast food (aka quick-service), fast casual, and casual restaurants -- covering everything fast food from multinational chains, regional and local chains, independent and chain cafeterias and all-you-can-eat restaurants, independent and chain diners, independent hole-in-the-wall restaurants, convenience store and gas station prepared food, food trucks and food carts, the neighborhood taqueria, street vendors, etc.
Hi! I was wondering if any of you heard of or visit restaurants that have a similar serving style or menu items to chipotle?
Maybe I’d call it Mexican fast casual. The only one I’m aware of is Fat Bastard burrito, they have larger portion sizes in the burritos but I believe the largest one (the length of my forearm basically, chipotle doesn’t do that) is like almost $20 now. I’m from america and the only other similar restaurant I’ve gone to there was Qdoba, but that’s not in the GTA.
I've been trying to use Meal Exchange / Gold Meals and it keeps looking like it's putting everything on my dining dollars. I was trying to order from True Burger and i picked the meal exchange menu and when I went to pay with my vandalcard it was saying Dining Dollars. It did this with Qdoba on the Boost app too.
And I tried checking my vandalcard accounts to see if it was just finnicky but it won't show me if it's actually using meal exchange or if it really is taking dining dollars.
I'm just trying to use meal exchange, am i doing something wrong or what?
I was trying to order a bowl and include a taco shell/bowl. I know it’s a $1 extra. I’ve been known this for the past year. Today though, I was told by a store manager that if I get rice as my base, it’s a Bowl and only the shell is an extra $1, yet if I get lettuce as my base and add rice, that means it’s a Salad and rice is $2 extra.
Not only that, but I also found out that for other items they’re supposed to charge extra now. Like if you get more than 3 salsas, extra. If you ask for extra fajita veggies, it’s $4 extra.
And I regularly frequented Qdoba because of their impossible meat option. Then about a month ago, I found out it’s taken off the menu. That was really what livened the flavor for me. No matter, I continued to go a couple times until today I find out there’s even more charges depending on whether you go Bowl vs Salad or ask for extras aside from meat. I didn’t even ask for a Salad, I just said it’s okay to leave the lettuce on the bottom rather than top to make sealing the bowl easier since it was a to-go order. But then out of nowhere, I’m being told now this makes it a Salad and getting rice is an extra $2.
To top it off, none of these upcharge prices regarding the shell nor extras are displayed anywhere on the overhead menu. So if Qdoba is changing their price structure, at least have it on display.
Nearly every place that has burritos on the menu serves them in a bowl fulla green chiles. Looking for a burrito I can eat with my hands that is better quality than the stuff at Chipotle or Qdoba. Moes Southwest Grille was alright, but they're not around here and I've had better.
It would be awesome if I could find a place willing to make a lengua or birria burrito.
I tried to place an order with Qdoba and noticed that the Impossible option is off the menu. When I called, the person said that the company decided to end having a plant-based option the prior week. I can’t seem to find anything online confirming this. Does anyone on here know?
thanks for any tips.
I've worked at both brands, so I can tell you the exact differences on what you're getting, but I haven't worked at Qdoba since 2020 so some things may have changed.
Guacamole- The recipes have the exact same ingredients- avocado, onions, cilantro, jalapeños, citrus juice, salt. Chipotle does source better produce overall but are often identical. Tie.
Salsa- Red salsa at Chipotle is much spicier than Qdoba. Qdoba's red salsa is much more in line with what you'd get at a Mexican restaurant on the table. Green salsa's are similar but when I was leaving Qdoba, they were changing the green salsa to include fresh cilantro and a base. I prefer Chipotle's red salsa for spice, Qdoba's green salsa for flavor.
Tomato Salsa/Pico de Gallo and Corn Salsa- Chipotle's tomatoes for this comes pre-diced in packages, while Qdoba chops Roma tomatoes in store. Despite this, Chipotle's still tastes better to me. Same base ingredients with both. Both corn salsa's are made from frozen corn and poblano mix. Chipotle's is better.
Grill- Chipotle uses a flat top grill, while Qdoba uses a gas grill with grates giving the signature lines you expect on grilled meat. In terms of cooking method for Chicken and Steak, Qdoba wins.
Chicken- Both are raw and premartinated in bags, with similar seasonings. Toss up, but I prefer the char you get at Qdoba.
Steak- Chipotle's steak is cooked sous-vide off site to medium rare, then marinated in store with Adobo. Qdoba's comes raw and premartinated in adobo. It depends on my mood, but I prefer Chipotle's steak in terms of flavor but Qdoba has better quality and texture IMO.
Carnitas/Pulled Pork- Chipotle's comes precooked and is boiled in a bag. It's good, I like it. Pre-COVID, Qdoba's pulled pork was made from a whole roast, slow roasted in the oven for hours with sofrito seasoning, and hand shredded. It's batch cooked, so it's cooled and reheated as needed. Massive win for Qdoba in terms of flavor and quality. However, I do believe they have switched to precooked since late 2020 since it was so difficult to make. Haven't eaten there since I left so I can't give an answer.
Brisket/Barbacoa- Major W for Chipotle here, period. I think Qdoba's Brisket tastes like how my cat's food smells. Not my jam. Qdoba used to have a mole inspired barbecue sauce to accompany it but got discontinued because it was gross and unpopular. Chipotle's Barbacoa tastes like how you'd expect shredded beef at a Mexican inspired restaurant would taste.
Impossible/Sofritas- Chipotle's sofritas are made simply with tofu and are pretty good. Not vegetarian so I don't ever get it but it's not bad at all. Qdoba's Impossible is okay, it's received in raw blocks of plain impossible ground mystery stuff, mixed with onions and the brown rice adobo seasoning, and then sealed in bags and heated in retherm. I prefer the sofritas. Chipotle has run the plant-based Chorizo which outclasses both by far.
Ground Beef- Qdoba automatically wins this one as Chipotle doesn't have ground beef. It's good, it's boiled in a bag and similar to Taco Bell's.
Fajita Veggies- Massive, massive Chipotle W. Chipotle's fajitas are hand sliced allowing for much thinner strips and is cooked on the grill. Qdoba's are chopped using a slicer, causing thicker strips and are never cooked enough on the stove top. While Qdoba's is flashier and you can see big flames shoot up while making it, Chipotle's is so much better.
Rice- White Rice is the exact same, brown rice has adobo seasoning. While it's not the tomato rice you get at a Mexican restaurant, it tastes similar and is really good. W Qdoba for the brown rice.
Beans- Chipotles is boiled in a bag with lime juice and salt added after heating and Qdoba's is cooked from dry in a huge stock pot with seasoning, diced onion, lime juice, and salt. I honestly think they taste the same even though Qdoba's are technically better quality. Tie.
Shredded Cheese- Depends on taste, but Chipotles is definitely better quality. Chipotle receives their Monterey Jack cheese in 40lb blocks which are sliced and shredded in store. Some people think it tastes almost sweet but I LOVE Chipotle's shredded cheese. Qdoba gets bags of preshredded 3 cheese blend which melts better. Quesadillas are better at Qdoba bc of this. W Chipotle for me. Sour cream both comes from bags, but Chipotle's is better to me as my Qdoba just used Daisy. Chipotle occasionally ships Daisy during shortages but it's a tie for most people.
Chips/Taco Shells/Salad Bowls- Both have deep fried corn chips tossed with lime juice and salt. Chipotle uses fresh limes while Qdoba juices it from a jug. However, at Qdoba, the chips are kept in a heating drawer so if you eat in the store you'll have hot chips. Taco Shells are about the same but Chipotle's have a more floral flavor if that makes sense. Salad Bowls are an automatic Qdoba W but they do cause gluten cross contamination in the deep fryer as they are made with flour tortillas. This is why Chipotle doesn't have these (aside from their bowl shapes) so they can have gluten free chips and crispy taco shells. Toss up.
Queso- Massive Qdoba W. Two types and they both have great texture and flavor. Chipotle's is honestly worse than Taco Bell's nacho cheese sauce IMO.
Menu Variety- Qdoba has way more variety, no question about it. They roll out new products on a frequent basis. Things they currently have that Chipotle does not have anything comparable to- wheat tortillas (similar to roti), ground beef, impossible, SHRIMP, quest diablo, roasted tomato salsa, Chile creme, Jalapeño verde, habanero salsa, pickled red onions, pickled jalapeños, tortilla strips, cilantro on the line, cotija cheese, mini bowls, cookies, and brownies. Chipotle does occasionally roll new stuff out like quesadillas (Qdoba and Moe's have had those for years), carne asada, plant based chorizo, brisket, cauliflower rice (which tasted absolutely RANCID), garlic guajilo steak, pollo asado, and a few other things. Unfortunately, these are all only limited time roll outs. And Chipotle has no desert options. Big Qdoba W.
Price- It depends on what you get. In my area, a Qdoba bowl with double steak, guac, and queso is $14.10, while a similar bowl at Chipotle is $20.30. If you don't get any guacamole or queso or double meat, they both cost $10.85, but Qdoba doesn't charge extra for either. Chips and Queso at Qdoba includes an 8oz portion plus chips for $5.25, while Chipotle's large chips and queso is $8.00 for a 6oz portion of queso. Qdoba is definitely cheaper in my area.
Despite Qdoba having a lot more to offer, I still think Chipotle is generally a better experience. The actual ingredients they use are much better quality by far, all organic, non-GMO. I think the stores look cleaner and the employees are nicer. The food also just tastes clean if that makes sense. Qdoba's flavor is great and tastes much more in line with what you'd get at a regular full-service Mexican restaurant. Chipotle's are also more standardized as every single location is corporate owned, while most Qdoba locations are franchised out.
The funniest thing about all this if you've read it all? Moe's tastes the best and has the best prices 🤷♂️ Maybe it's because I haven't worked there 😂
I’m starting a new job next week, and they are hosting a “Week of Welcome” type thing where it’s mandatory that new employees attend Mon-Fri from 8-4 and they are feeding us breakfast, lunch, and dinner (with dinner starting at 4).
The menu for the week has been released and each meal will be catered restaurant food.
In order of breakfast, lunch, and dinner:
Monday: Panera Bread, Qdoba, Texas Roadhouse
Tuesday: Chick Fil A, Pizza with the options of baked ziti, chicken alfredo, garlic knots, and pepperoni rolls, then Olive Garden for dinner
Wednesday: Dunkin, Buffalo Wild Wings, P.F. Chang’s
Thursday: Chick Fil A, Charley’s, dinner at a brewery
Friday: Panera Bread, Subway, Cracker Barrell
I don’t eat out much, so I have no idea what to eat next week. I already know it’s going to be hard, but I need help. Any suggestions on how to stay under 60g carbs for these five days?
I’m starting a new job next week, and they are hosting a “Week of Welcome” type thing where it’s mandatory that new employees attend Mon-Fri from 8-4 and they are feeding us breakfast, lunch, and dinner (with dinner starting at 4).
The menu for the week has been released and each meal will be catered restaurant food. Breakfast will consist of Panera Bread, Dunkin, or Chick Fil A. Lunch will be Qdoba, Buffalo Wild Wings, Subway, Charley’s, and pizza with the options of baked ziti, chicken alfredo, garlic knots, and pepperoni rolls. Dinner will be Texas Roadhouse, Olive Garden, P.F. Chang’s, Chick Fil A, and then one night we’ll have dinner at a brewery.
I don’t eat out much, so I have no idea what to eat next week. I already know it’s going to be hard, but I need help. Any suggestions on how to stay keto for these five days?
I know it sounds obvious, but you would be surprised! If frozen wings are good enough for bdubs, then buy the sauce and grab a frozen pack of popcorn chicken from the grocery store. Fry em up and you'll have wings better than the restaurant. Pizza is getting expensive. So I buy pizza hut sauce and make my own stuff crust sticks. Tastes like a menu item that doesn't exist. I love qdoba, but I'm cheap. So I buy the qdoba queso and cook the rest! I also buy creamy jalapeño sauce from tbell and make my own quesadillas. Not everything is perfect, but this should save you enough money to afford cable lol
Part 1 Previous Next 1 year ago from the present day…
Mitchell and Carol Boykins drove their Chevy hybrid at the posted speed limit on the empty Indiana highway. It was the middle of June, and the grass was a vibrant green, along with clumps of trees they saw in the distance. Nothing was around except for flatlands.
Mitchell was a tall, scrawny guy with a stylish haircut, big plastic frame glasses, and he always wore a button-up shirt that fit him a little tight. His jeans had a similar tightness.
“It’s so crazy to me that you’ve never been to a big city,” Carol said from the passenger seat. Carol was a year younger than Mitchell. She wore a bright blue floral dress purchased from a vintage shop the week before. Her hair was long, but she had bangs that neatly covered her forehead. The large plastic frame glasses looked similar to Mitchell’s, but hers had a vintage cat-eye shape.
“Hey hey hey, I’ve been to Arlington, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach.” Mitchell smirked.
“Our state doesn’t count.”
“Well, we went to Honolulu for our honeymoon. That’s a pretty large city.”
“I mean, you’ve never been to New York or Chicago.”
“I don’t know if it counts for you either. You went to New York when you were like 10 years old. You barely remember it.”
“That’s not entirely true. I remember how amazing it felt taking the Staten Island ferry and seeing the whole city in front of you. And then the excitement of the subways and all the lights in times square, I’ll never forget those moments. Now that I’m thinking about it, I wish we were able to go there.”
“No matter what, I’m excited about Chicago. At least we have friends there we can visit.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic for Chicago, but I do want to take you to New York someday.”
“Yeah, I’m all for that.” Mitchell looked at Carol and smiled before focusing his attention on the road. His stomach grumbled like an irritated old man. “So, do you have any thoughts on where you’d want to go to dinner? I was thinking something fast. Chipotle or Qdoba both sound good to me.”
Carol winced. “Yeah, those places are fine and all, and I like them, but I’m in a mood.”
Mitchell exhaled, but the corner of his lip curled up. “Uh-huh, and what’s your mood?”
“I want something that looks like a diner in an airstream. You know what I’m talking about? Those trailers that look like they’re made of stainless steel, and they’re a diner with all sorts of kitschy collectibles and a 1950s theme?”
“I can picture it clearly,” Mitchell said with a hint of annoyance.
“I want to go to a place like that. That would be so fun, and it would be even better if it was in some small little town with a unique charm only found in less populated Americana. You know what I mean?”
“Yeah, but who knows when’s the next time we might find a restaurant like that. We could be on the road for hours until we find something exactly like your description. Can we just settle for a diner nearby?”
“You must be pretty hungry, huh?” Carol looked up at Mitchell from over her glasses.
“Did you not hear my stomach growling just a moment ago?”
“I’m just curious! That’s all. What’s the max amount of time you’re willing to wait?”
Mitchell’s head bobbed from side to side as he thought about it. “No longer than 30 minutes. I’ve been a little hungry for a while now.”
“Okay! I’ll be quick. I’ll settle for a diner, but you bet your ass I’m looking for a stainless steel 1950s nightmare.” Carol winked and buried her head in her phone, swiping madly through search results. “Oh my God! I think we hit the jackpot! 20 minutes away, a little town called Wilton, Indiana, has exactly what we need. This place is called Buckwheat’s!”
“Can you settle down? You’re yelling in my ear,” Mitchell said but laughed about it.
“Look at this place! Look at this place!” Carol held her phone in front of Mitchell’s face while driving.
His eyes quickly flicked from the road to the screen. He spotted sections of silver steel, a green neon sign up top with the name of the restaurant, and then a clock above it. Above the clock was another sign, white letters with a red background. “Open 24 hours!”
“That looks like what you want.” Mitchell smiled. “Could you put it in the GPS, please?”
“Already on it!” Carol had the phone in hand and adjusted the directions from Chicago to Buckwheat’s. They were only 19 minutes away.
As Mitchell continued driving, Carol looked through all of the photos of the restaurant and read through the menu. She smiled from ear to ear.
Arriving at the restaurant, they parked in front of the Buckwheat’s lot and approached the main entrance. Before walking inside, Carol turned around. The sun was making progress down the horizon. It would be nighttime soon, and the golden landscape of Wilton captured Carol’s breath. A cute, small city with buildings made of brick, some painted with pastel colors, and a river running through the edge of the town. There appeared to be a train depot structure all the way at the other end of the main street, still in excellent condition. Exploring the curious town piqued Carol’s interest, capturing her imagination and running wild with it.
“Carol, are we going inside?” Mitchell asked as he held open the door to Buckwheat’s. An air-conditioned breeze came through the open entrance and hit the back of Carol’s neck.
“Yeah, I’m ready. Sorry about that, this little town is so beautiful.” Carol giggled to herself as the two of them walked inside. She was immediately impressed with the theme of Buckwheat’s. A long counter with stools made of shiny steel with a red cushioned cap. The floor had a checkerboard pattern, and there was a fake jukebox at the end of the restaurant, glowing with a rainbow of colors. Pictures of the 1950s festooned the walls, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, automobiles, and vintage Coke and gasoline signs. Buckwheat’s smelled of a variety of other foods. Carol could see the cooks in the back taking tickets and preparing meals.
“Wow, this place is so perfect,” Carol whispered to Mitchell. “Where do you want to sit? Part of me wants to sit at the bar and get the full experience, but those booths look awfully cozy too. Perhaps the host will determine our fate.”
A server in a black t-shirt with Buckwheat’s written on the front approached them and smiled. “Sit wherever you’d like!”
“Well? Did you make up your mind?” Mitchell asked Carol playfully.
“Yeah, follow me.” Carol walked to the restaurant’s end and slid into the back booth. “There, that way we can look out the window and see this cute little downtown, but also I have the view of the entire restaurant to take it all in.” Carol beamed. “Sorry, I guess you don’t have a view of the restaurant unless you want to sit on my side?”
“That’s okay. As long as I’m sitting across from you, I have the best and most beautiful view of the whole place.” Mitchell’s lips curled up as he sat across from Carol.
Carol grinned. “You’re too sweet, you know that?”
The same server came to their table and dropped off two menus. “Breakfast is served 24 hours, just so you know. Nothing on the menu is off-limits. By the way, I adore your glasses.”
Carol adjusted her frames. “Thank you so much! It totally fits the whole aesthetic here.”
“I know, how perfect. I haven’t seen you before. Are you two from around here?”
“No, we’re just passing by, but we might stick around and check out some of the other places. This is a wonderful little town you have here.”
“Yeah, it’s got everything you could want. That’s why I never had the urge to leave.”
“Any places you would recommend going to?”
“I mean, how much time do you have? There’s enough to do to take up an entire night until the late morning.”
“Well, we’re not in a hurry, but I can’t imagine us staying out all night.” Carol laughed.
“Not only that, I can’t imagine there’s that much to do. It looks like such a small town,” Mitchell said as he stared out the window. Analyzing what all could be done in a tiny downtown strip, he couldn’t think of anything that would hook him in for an entire night into the morning.
“There are some great bars, but there’s also a really great nightclub too,” the server said.
“What’s it called?” Carol asked.
“It’s one of my favorite places to go. It’s called Club Novus, but it’s a bit of a secret. You can’t find it online or any reviews on it.”
“That’s pretty weird.”
“Yeah, but I think they want it to feel like a rave. Like how there’s no official place, but they have parties in random abandoned buildings.”
“Oh, so it’s an underground thing? But it’s always at the same building here?”
“Yeah, they have it at the same building, but it’s an official business, so you won’t be busted for trespassing.”
“This is all very fascinating.”
“But if the club idea is in your scene, there’s another great bar called the Painted Goose, which I highly recommend.”
“I can’t imagine we’d be staying here very late. We’ll probably hit the road after dinner,” Mitchell butted in.
“There’s a great ice cream place too in the park along the river. So even if you want to get a dessert after you eat here and explore a little bit, that’s a popular spot.”
“Thank you so much for all of the ideas,” Carol said.
“Sorry, I’m probably talking your ear off. My manager tells me I do that sometimes, but a lot of locals come here, so it’s not every day you get someone from...?”
“Virginia,” Carol said.
“Wow, quite a ways away from home. Well, thank you for coming into our little diner here. I’ll let you two look at the menu, and I’ll be right back.” The server left their table.
“The Midwestern charm is a real thing. The people here are just lovely,” Carol said.
Mitchell was nose deep in the menu, analyzing every item, weighing options in his head. “Uh-huh,” he replied, unsure of what he responded to.
“What do you think, shall we stick around for ice cream?”
“Uh, I don’t know. I think I want to get back on the road after this. We were making pretty good time, and I wanted something quick for dinner, and this will probably take us a lot longer.”
“Yeah, but there’s no hurry to Chicago. It’s not like we have any plans the moment we get there. We’ve got plenty of time to kill.”
Mitchell sighed. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. We’d just be sitting around at the Airbnb.”
“And did you see the map? There’s still a huge traffic jam in the Chicago area.”
“Yeah, yeah, you’re not wrong.” Mitchell nodded. “Let’s see how we feel after we eat. I’d be down to walk around, I think, maybe not ice cream, but we’ll see, I guess.”
“Ah, the server is already coming back our way, and I haven’t even thought of what I wanted.” Carol scanned the menu. “Okay, I got it now!”
The server came and jotted down their orders. “Okay, I’ll put that right in for you.”
“Oh, wait! I want to ask before I forget. What’s the tattoo on your arm?”
The server rolled up her sleeve, showcasing a brooding three-headed dog with a slight scowl. “It’s Cerberus from Greek mythology.”
“Wow, that’s a beautiful tattoo. I’ve been thinking about getting one forever, but I’m just not sure what I’d get. I think I’d like something artsy or cool like that. Maybe even something simple like a vinyl record.”
“Oh! I should mention to you one other thing. If you like vinyl records, which it seems like you do, you should really check out the Painted Goose bar. They do this thing where you can pay to play a vinyl record of your choosing. It’s really neat and one of my other favorite places to go. I think it’s worth stopping in for just a beer since you’re just passing by.”
“Wow, I love that name, Painted Goose. Thank you for the suggestion.”
“And that place you can actually look up online.” The server laughed. “I’ll put your order in. Let me know if you need anything else.”
Carol pulled out her phone and went through as many photos as she could find of the Painted Goose. Interior brick, a mural of a painted goose, and a wall of vinyl records made her eyes light up like fireworks. She was impressed by the high ratings, an average of 4.8 stars out of 5. All of the top ratings seemed to say the same thing, so she sorted by the lowest ratings to see who could have possibly said something negative. Some complained about the service being too slow, that the place was too hipster, or that it cost too much to get their favorite record played, but there was one that stood out to Carol.
“I hate to leave a bad review because I enjoyed the atmosphere of the bar, but something was off about the place. When I went outside for a smoke, some guy was watching me beyond the fence of the bar. It was really creepy. From that experience alone, I don’t think I’ll ever come back to the Painted Goose.”
Carol’s skin tingled as she read the blurb, but she revisited the top reviews and could feel excitement build in her chest. She knew the tricky part was going to be convincing Mitchell.
“So I looked up reviews of the painted goose, and I saw photos, and I really really want to check it out. I also want to check out the park, but I understand if you think we don’t have time for both. But a quick walk around the park and one beer at the Painted Goose is all I’m asking.”
Mitchell laughed to himself. “You know what, we’re on vacation, we don’t have anywhere we need to be at any specific time today, why don’t we do both?”
Carol and Mitchell had their meal delivered after waiting only 10 minutes. Mitchell had ordered a cheese omelet, and Carol had a veggie pita wrap. They paid in cash, gave a 25% tip, and left the restaurant. Since the sun hovered just about the horizon, they went to the park first. It was a vast open space with a small wooden dock, tall trees, a few picnic tables, and a wide sidewalk along the river. A long line stretched out from a tiny shack selling soft-serve ice cream. Both Carol and Mitchell were glad they stopped. They thought about grabbing ice cream, but instead, they went to the Painted Goose.
As the night came, the one beer turned into more beers. They became friends with other people at the bar.
They lost track of time, and eventually, they lost track of everything.
The night descended into a blur.
The following morning, Carol and Mitchell were nowhere to be found. Their car was left abandoned in the Buckwheat’s parking lot. Next