By Nancy Giddens
The most dreaded day for single people everywhere has passed. Good riddance Valentine’s Day! I may love Columbia’s Candy Factory chocolate covered strawberries as much as anyone, but seriously, do we really need a day to paint the world pink? All the hype…what to wear, where to eat, what to buy? Well, not for my newly single compadre and me. To buck tradition, Rep. Chris Molendorp and I (or two loveable losers as he calls us) decided to kick-off Valentine’s weekend by celebrating our single status at Chipotle Mexican Grill.
When Molendorp suggested we revolt against long lines and fancy fare by dining at Chipotle, I wasn’t so convinced. I had not been there prior to our outing. Though, I quickly realized it was a brilliant selection. The place represented our current love lives – sparsely decorated and over relatively fast. Unlike much of our love lives, however, it was a fantastic experience for which we have no regrets!
Upon arrival, Chipotle employee and enthusiast Larry greeted us at the door. As a rookie in this restaurant, I didn’t know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised to see that this is not your average fast food restaurant. The staff clearly enjoyed each other and was dedicated to delivering a great product. The industrial décor was well maintained and the place was spotless. Everyone seemed to have a smile on his or her face. Representative Molendorp and I decided it was a burrito kind of night. Chicken for him. Carnitas for me. We topped off our order with chips, chunky tomato salsa, and margaritas and Dos Equis beer. Our experience was terrific even if Molendorp was denied the opportunity to make a burrito due to his alcohol consumption. The food, the service, the company altogether proved to be a great Valentine’s celebration.
Chipotle is located at 1400 Missouri Boulevard. It is a chain restaurant and while I’m not in love with chains, this one is different. Its people and products make it so. Mostly, it fulfills a great niche for governmental types. State workers can access a healthy meal within a short drive of most state buildings. Legislators and lobbyists can grab a filling lunch or dinner in between committee hearings and floor activity.
The Chipotle staff was cohesive and fun. Larry’s personality and energy upped the experience in general. Mike, the Chipotle Manager, was amazing. He was incredibly attentive to us and other patrons and checked on us intermittently throughout our meal, which likely was far longer than a typical Chipotle outing. Sorry Mike!
Chipotle and its JC staff takes pride in its products. The chicken, beef and pork are raised without antibiotics and organic/locally grown produce is a priority. As a farm kid, I’m not easily wooed by organic fare, but there was something comforting about the pride workers took in food quality and watching them make your meal. Check out the menu and a nutrition calculator at the following link: http://www.chipotle.com/en-us/menu/menu.aspx.
Be prepared to pay $6.25 – $6.65 for your choice of a burrito, taco or salad. The kid’s menu varies from $3.25 – $4.25. The money is well spent. The food is fresh, flavorsome and plentiful. You won’t go away hungry.
My surprise with the experience. Whether it was Larry’s gusto, Mike’s focus on patron happiness, Molendorp making me laugh, or the food’s deliciousness, Chipotle exceeded my expectations. Despite my best efforts to fight off Valentine’s Day 2013, maybe I did find love…for Chipotle and its carnitas burrito.