Shirk: Better burrito? Qdoba vs. Chipotle


Which restaurant serves up the better burrito? Qdoba or Chipotle?

It’s a question that has plagued mankind since the earliest days of the fast-food industry, or at least since 1995, when the first Qdoba opened in Denver — also the birthplace of Chipotle.

There’s no doubt that when you’re hankering for a downright delicious burrito, Chipotle will be one of the first places you’ll think about going to to satiate your craving.

So what are the pros and cons of each restaurant? What separates the two restaurants, and is it possible to end the great debate?

Chipotle, obviously, is more popular. While gauging opinions from Wichita State students on which restaurant serves the better burrito, if their answer was Chipotle, it was usually because they hadn’t been to Qdoba, or even heard of it.

The juggernaut of the fast-casual Mexican market offers six protein choices: grilled chicken, barbacoa, sofritas, grilled steak, chorizo, and carnitas. Paired with white or cilantro-lime rice, black or pinto beans, and fajita veggies, Chipotle offers your standard variety of toppings. Also available are mild and hot salsas, sour cream, green-chili and corn salsas, lettuce, cheese, and guacamole.

Truth be told, it’s hard to go wrong when you’re at Chipotle. It’s easy to see why many people love it.

The pricing is decent, the burritos are great, and the atmosphere is welcoming. Good luck finding a time when Chipotle isn’t packed to get your food.

Qdoba is like that undervalued player on the team: always shattering expectations.

I had few expectations when I first went to Qdoba. It seemed to be little more than a Chipotle knock-off, desperate for its chance in the spotlight.

Boy, was I in for a surprise.

Qdoba offers your standard fare of options. Burritos, bowls, tacos, and salads. Along with their protein offerings, there’s not much different between them and Chipotle.

It’s what you can pile on to your burrito that separates the two.

In addition to the basic hot and mild salsas, sour cream, lettuce, cheese, and guacamole, Qdoba allows you to add three different kinds of queso, tortilla strips, bacon, and diced jalapenos.

The wider variety of ingredients appeals to those that prefer Qdoba over Chipotle. Of the few WSU students that chose Qdoba over Chipotle, it was more often than not because of the wider variety of ingredients.

“I like Qdoba because they allow me to put queso in my burrito,” Alexandria Wolken said. “And they’ve never had an E. coli outbreak.”

Even though it comes down to personal opinion, the decision as to who offers the better burrito is an easy one in my mind.

It’s Qdoba.

You can only do so much with certain ingredients, and Qdoba’s bountiful selection of extra ingredients gives their burritos a taste which you won’t find at Chipotle.

Another point towards Qdoba: if you’re a Wichita State student, show them your WSU ID, and you’ll receive a discount on your order.

Chipotle is fantastic, there’s no doubt, but if you’re not aware of Qdoba’s existence, do your taste buds a favor and swing by.