Take your pick with 4 burrito joints

by Lindsay Guentzel

In 1998, the first Chipotle in Minnesota opened in Stadium Village and for four years, it monopolized the on-campus burrito market.

Burrito Loco, owned by two University alumni, came next in November 2002.

Now, with the addition of Coffman Union’s Baja Sol in January 2003 and Qdoba in November 2006, there are four Mexican fast-food restaurants on campus for students to choose from.

Chipotle or bust

Patrick Evans, finance and African-American studies junior, said he prefers Chipotle because it has the best guacamole.

He said he has tried the other restaurants, but doesn’t think they compare to Chipotle.

“I really don’t like how they try to imitate Chipotle,” he said. “Every time I’ve been to Burrito Loco, they’ve handed me a burrito that was falling apart.”

Sociology sophomore Zach Binsfeld said he also likes Chipotle because it’s close to his apartment.

Binsfeld, who had never heard of Baja Sol, said he has been to Burrito Loco and Qdoba a few times, but still prefers Chipotle.

“It’s probably because I never go to other places very often,” he said.

Trevor Shogren, the general manager of Chipotle’s Stadium Village location, said Minnesota stores’ pork and chicken are naturally and humanely raised, and the sour cream contains no rBGH hormones.

“We’re making that change with the cheese as we speak,” Shogren said.

Chipotle gave away free burritos Wednesday to customers who dressed up in aluminum foil for Halloween.

Binsfeld said he considered dressing up and going to Chipotle for a free burrito.

“I’m thinking about it, since I only have to walk about 80 feet,” he said.

Crazy for Burrito Loco

While Burrito Loco didn’t offer free food for Halloween costumes, it does offer daily free-food specials in its upstairs bar.

For example, Tuesday is taco night and with the purchase of a mug of beer, customers get free hard-shell beef or veggie tacos.

Burrito Loco employee Luke Thompson said Burrito Loco offers a burrito line, a bar featuring 16 different taps and event nights including karaoke and team trivia.

“It’s a fun place to hang out,” he said. “I think we have more ways to customize the burrito.”

Another difference is the restaurant is open late and delivers, Thompson said.

“I’d say we make most of our money towards bar close,” Thompson said. “Usually between one and three, there’s a line out the door.”

Nick Rubino, a sociology sophomore, said he likes Burrito Loco because they have the best variety of meat and sauces.

“And it’s also a bar, too,” he said. “That’s nice.”

Rubino said he has tried the other three restaurants and thought Baja Sol was the worst.

“I think it’s really bland and dry,” he said. “They don’t add very much.”

Burrito Loco co-owner Greg Pillsbury said the restaurant will be celebrating its five-year anniversary Sunday.

The sun rises for Baja Sol

Baja Sol, located in the lower level of Coffman Union, offers a salsa bar that features eight kinds of salsas and toppings.

Jenny Konitzer, an art and communications senior, said while she doesn’t usually like Mexican food, she eats at Baja Sol a couple times a week.

International relations first-year student Nellie Brau said she eats at Baja Sol because its Coffman Union location is convenient and it’s fresh.

“But it doesn’t beat Chipotle, for sure,” she said.

Qdoba’s queso craze

Qdoba, the newest Mexican restaurant to move onto campus, offers specialty items like pesto and queso burritos.

Mass communication junior Paul Noess said Qdoba’s queso sets it apart from the other restaurants.

“I eat here because they have amazing queso,” he said.

He also said the burrito proportions are better at Qdoba.

“I think Chipotle gives you too much rice and not enough meat,” he said. “I think people go to Chipotle because they know the name.”

Libby Vermeulen, a biology junior, said she goes to Qdoba because it’s close to her house and she also likes its queso.

Qdoba also offers a Qdoba Card; after buying 10 entrées, patrons get free food.

“You get free chips and salsa when you sign up,” Vermeulen said.