Should students eat Chipotle or Cal-Tort?


Chipotle– Abby Russ, Staff Writer

Chipotle Mexican Grill. There are at least 23 locations within a 10 mile radius of our school, which makes them easy, accessible and cheap, perfect for a high school student. There are endless decisions to make for one small meal. Am I feeling guacamole or queso today? Should I order it for after-school, or when I’m binge watching Netflix from my couch? Either way, Chipotle makes it easy and convenient to fulfill anyone’s craving for Mexican food.

Let’s start with the menu. There are burritos, burrito bowls, salad bowls and tacos. They even “have options like sofritas for people who don’t eat meat,” junior Rachel Kerschenbaum said.

Chipotle reinvented fast food. “It started the whole phenomenon where you get to choose what you want in your food,” Kerschenbaum said.

They changed the game of what fast food in America is. Chipotle showed America that fast food does not have to be American food; although it seems to have become almost as American as McDonald’s.

Although other Mexican fast food restaurants have developed in the wake of Chipotle’s success, Business Insider’s Maria Nazario reminded the world that other new chains could “become the next Chipotle.”

While that may sound promising, chains like California Tortilla and Moe’s Southwest Grill are only following in the footsteps of Chipotle. Chipotle like restaurant such as Cava, Chop’t and Honeygrow have since followed suit in innovating their menu and giving the consumer the opportunity to craft their own meal.

Chipotle has left its mark on America, making itself and its logo recognizable to most Americans. “I love Chipotle because it is a tradition for me and my ballet friends to go after ballet and get something to eat. It is fun bonding time plus the food is good,” junior Sasha Mironova said.

With Chipotle’s sales steadily on the rise, they do not seem to be going anywhere any time soon. Additionally, they have overcome scandals within the last five years, such as their E coli scare in 2015, without losing their customers.

Since 2013, Chipotle sales and revenue has risen from $3.21 billion to approximately $4.48 billion. They are helping the economy through their sales and stocks while filling our stomachs with farm fresh, healthy ingredients.

Since Steve Ells founded the first Chipotle in Denver, CO, on July 13, 1993, Chipotle has been committed to hand preparing “real ingredients.” Unlike other fast food restaurants, Chipotle prepares their food in house and in 2015 officially started cooking only with non-GMO ingredients.

California Tortilla may have innovative new Mexican recipes but their set menu gets boring over time. Their 25 dishes will grow old and overeaten, while Chipotle’s craft-your-own-meal can create new and innovative dishes custom to each consumer’s taste and imagination.

Speed, accessibility and environmental and ethical consciousness sets Chipotle apart from other fast food restaurants. Customers can rely on Chipotle to feed them in 48 different states as well as in France, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. Chipotle will always be there to fill your Mexican food cravings.



California Tortilla- Rachel Berman, Staff Writer

Amazing, incredible, life-changing. These words could all be used to describe one of the best restaurants in the Rockville area. This restaurant has a much larger variety than Chipotle, generally healthier options and is more sanitary. Without further ado, I present to you California Tortilla (the superior Mexican-style fast casual restaurant).

California Tortilla has around eight major categories of food (burritos, bowls, chef’s bowls, tacos, fajitas, soup, salad and quesadillas) as opposed to Chipotle only having five (burritos, bowls, tacos, salad and quesadillas). Within each category, California Tortilla also has a variety of different options to choose from, and if you do not see something you like you can always create your own. “I love California Tortilla, I think it tastes better and has a better variety than Chipotle,” senior Nisha Ramamurthy said.

Not only does California Tortilla have more a variety in their food options, they also have a huge selection of hot sauces and sodas. At the location in Gaithersburg (across from Quince Orchard), the whole left wall is covered in an assortment of different hot sauces. These sauces range anywhere from 1 (hardly hot) to 10+ (insanely hot) and there are multiple sauces within each category to choose from. Additionally, California Tortilla has a touch-screen soda machine offering more than 20 different flavors of soda rather than the 10 soda flavors that Chipotle offers. The hot sauces “can be really spicy and there are a lot to choose from,” senior Zack Lechner said.

In general, the food that you order from California Tortilla will be healthier than the food ordered at Chipotle. A regular sized burrito filled with rice, black beans, steak, lettuce, cheese, sour cream and salsa is 819 calories from California Tortilla, but that same burrito from Chipotle is about 1060 calories. Another example is the classic burrito bowl filled with rice, black beans, chicken, lettuce, cheese, sour cream and salsa. This full burrito is 812 calories at California Tortilla, and close to 1090 calories at Chipotle. The Chipotle tortilla itself is 320 calories as opposed to the tortilla at California Tortilla, which is only 280 calories. “I would much rather have California Tortilla, it is definitely the healthier option,” senior Jenna Traub said.

The last reason why I believe California Tortilla is better than Chipotle is because of the cleanliness of the restaurant. Have you ever actually looked at the food in the bins at Chipotle? The food on the top may not look so bad, but the food at the bottom does not look very appetizing. We, as customers, cannot be sure how long that food has been sitting there and how fresh the food actually is. Also, on occasion I have been to Chipotle and there has been food misplaced in other bins. This could be a serious health hazard. What if someone ordered guacamole and there was some cheese that had been accidentally dropped into it that someone was allergic to? Overall, I believe California Tortilla is the healthier and better option.