Sunday, September 30, 2007

Restaurant Review - Chipotle, 10149 West Colonial Drive, Ocoee, FL

Chipotle in OcoeeI decided to try Chipotle again, despite having a bad experience about 2 years ago at the Florida Mall location. Why was it bad? I found that most of Chipotle's food was very spicy and that there was no children's menu even though Chipotle was started by McDonald's and was a fast-casual restaurant. However, a new Chipotle opened in Ocoee and, they sent me a free burrito coupon in the mail.

Unfortunately, nothing has changed at Chipotle since my previous experience. I knew I was in trouble when I looked up at the menu board upon entering and still saw no children's menu. As I waited in line to get to the counter, I quickly scanned the menu for something my kids could eat. BB announced that he wanted a beef taco while LB said he just wanted beef and cheese. The menu is very simple at CGuacamole with salty chipshipotle. All pricing is calculated by what kind of meat you want: chicken $5.70, steak $5.80, carnitas (pork) $5.85, barbacoa (shredded beef) $5.85, and vegetarian (guacamole and black beans) $5.25. Then, you choose how you want it: burrito with rice, beans, your chosen meat, salsa, cheese or sour cream; fajita burrito which is the same as the regular burrito except you substitute sauteed peppers and onions for the beans; burrito bol which is everything in a bowl instead of a tortilla; tacos - three soft or four crispy; or salad which is like the bol but on lettuce.

When I got to the front of the line, I asked if they had a children's menu. The server handed me a card that said "Parent's Menu" which was not a good sign. Here is what it said, "We don't really have a kids' menu, but we'll put together anything your child will eat. Just gaze down our serving line, look at the ideas below, and then get creative." Listed below were ideas such as quesadillas, single tacos, bols, and chips & guacamole. By the way, none of these items had prices by them and most of them are not on the menu. It also had a "heat index" that showed that the ONLY items on the menu that were not at all spicy were the pork, rice, beans, and chips. Wow, so most of the menu items are spicy. Next up on the heat scale was the chicken, shredded beef, and, get this, mild salsa (!). So I guess the mild salsa isn't that mild! I asked how much a single taco was and the cashier said they were $1.95. BB came over to me at this point and reminded me he wanted a beef taco. I told him he couldn't because the steak was one of the spiciest things on the menu. This started an argument between me and my 8-year-old and I finally told him we were getting this all to gChicken Burritoo and that he would be happy with a chicken taco (they had run out of the mild pork and were making more but it wasn't done yet). Next, I had to figure out what to get my youngest one. I decided to get him a children's bol as it had suggested on the "Parent's Menu". I asked the cashier how much those were. She replied that they didn't really have children's bols - she would just ring up everything I chose as a side dish. This was getting more and more complicated and I could tell the crowd behind me was giving me looks so I just said, "Fine, we'll just have a side order of rice and black beans." As the server opened up the rice coSingle chicken tacover, I knew I was in trouble. The rice is actually cilantro rice and has strips of shredded cilantro all throughout. I knew my picky eater would never eat that and asked if I could get plain rice without the cilantro. The server called over to the cook in the back to make the plain rice. I quickly decided on a chicken burrito for me with rice, black beans, cheese, mild salsa, and sour cream.

As the server was packaging up our order to go, I asked the cashier some other prices for all of you readers. A side order of rice or beans is 65 cents. A small cheese quesadilla is 85 cents (I assume on a taco tortilla) while a large quesadilla is $2.25. I also decided to get an order of guacamole and chips ($2.25) with our order. Heading out of the restaurant, I noticed that the decor looks the same as the Florida Mall location with corrugated steel and light woods everywhere. However, there were also quite a lot of the very high tables with high stools that had no foot rests - another thing that wasn't very kid-friendly, I thought.

When we got home and unpacked the food, I discovered that they had forgot to add the beans to the serving of plain white rice for LB. Luckily, he decided he wasn't that hungry when we got home so I just made him mac-n-cheese. BB attempted to eat his chicken taco and finally had to ask for milk to cool down his mouth. I tried my chicken burrito and I couldn't even finish it since it was so spicy hot. I can't imagine how hot the other meats are if the chicken was this hot and it was supposed to be one of the least spicy. Also, we found out that guacamole was very spicy as well and the chips were over-salted. I looked closely and saw that they had used sea salt flakes on the chips, that's probably why they tasted so salty.

All in all, I had a very bad family food experience at Chipotle. If you take your kids there on a regular basis, please let me know what you order for them because I can't figure out anything that my kids will like there. I'm probably not going back.


JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Wow, I never really thought about how difficult as a parent it must be to go somewhere where there is nothing your kids will eat. (Although I have actually met quite a few kids (in cooking camp) that enjoyed spicy foods).
This is a really great blog full of interesting perspectives!

Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll!

Anonymous said...

my children are 5 and 1 1/2 and they love the place. it has been my daughter's favorite since she was 3. rice and beans and sour cream with cheese is perfect for her. the quesadillas are perfect for little ones too. You just have to get you kids away from the usual chicken nuggets and french fries that they are used too. It's good to try new things.

Anonymous said...

When you are this picky, you should try cooking your dinner at home. Some places are not kid friendly, ie bars you wouldnt take your kids there would you? Try complaining to a bar tender that they have no kids menu. My kids love Chipotle! When I look around and see other kids they are enjoying it. You put so much work in your ad, try spending that time cooking instead.

Nate's mom said...

I started going to Chipotle before I had kids and fell in love with it. I don't think anything I have ever gotten there is that spicy (I always get the mild salsa,) and, believe me, I am one of the whitest people on earth when it comes to the spice in Mexican food. I agree about the kids menu, though... like they can't put one together with prices for a small quesedilla, etc.? And, they should offer side choices that kids will eat like plain rice or fruit. You should give it another chance and try the pork. It is not spicy at all, it is delicious and free range.

Anonymous said...

I love (most) chilpoltes. My 2.5yo does too. We are vegitarian though and she gets the rice and black beans bol. I get the veg fajita burrito. My sister (also veg) gets a "fajita burrito" but with only cheese and vegtables so they useually only charge her for a large quesadilla.

My bad experience with Chipolte was in MD. The ones I uesually go to charge my daughters bol as two side dishes, useually coming to $1.11 or so. closer to $2 if I get her some guac. But for some reason the weridos at this one store insist they have to charge her for an adult bol even with just the beans and rice and her obviously being only 2! (I could understand them charging more if she was a teenager). I don't like paying nearly $5 for kids sizes of rice and beans.

It has been a few months though, so maybe I will try to go and fight them again... especilly since you guys have me craving it now.....

(oh, and the only thing I think is spicy is the hot salsa. the mild just tastes like diced tomatoes to me)

Anonymous said...


if your children are picky, do not take them to chipotle. although chipotle is not a very family-friendly place, it is still a good restaurant to be enjoyed by spicy-food enthusiasts, teens, and adults.

maybe just guacamole and chips next time for the kids?

Anonymous said...

I am confused as to why you would take your children to Chipotle in the first place given how picky they seem to be. Yes McDonald's owns Chipotle but their business model is completely different and they have gone to great lengths to differentiate themselves from the McDonald's chain. You are absolutely right that this chain is not geared towards children but it seems like the staff tried to accomodate your special requests i.e. making plain rice. Perhaps your idea of spicy is different then the majority but since you had that experience before it is surprising that you would even go back there. If mac n cheese is the type of food your kids eat then you should stick to McDonald's when it comes to taking them out.

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