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New RSC tenant has a queso problem

Sono forgot the queso in its RSC debut.

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The days of a good $1 burrito in between classes are long gone.

In the early summer, Wichita State announced a new partnership with the food provider Chartwells, and among the expected changes came a few unexpected ones — most notably the departure of Taco Bell.

What we have now is Sono, a Mexican food concept that likes to bank on the idea of being the Chipotle you’ve never heard of, serving burritos, burrito bowls, tacos, nachos and quesadillas.

Erbert & Gerbert’s — a sub-par sandwich provider — was also swapped for Mondo Subs in what should be considered a small change if any.

Sono

Earlier this week, Freebirds World Burrito pulled their two Wichita locations, permanently shutting them down. Nobody seemed to notice. And if the same happened for Sono, nobody would likely care much either.

Sono isn’t Chipotle, though they try to be.

For a little under $7, customers can build their burrito — and that’s not the problem. Where Sono can’t compete is portion size.

Burritos are small. Each ingredient is held back — even rice, which Chipotle tends to overload you with. Guacamole, which is sold in two varieties — regular and triple chile — is an extra charge of $2-4, depending on the portion.

Meat options are limited to chicken, beef or carnitas. The variety of toppings on the menu — aside from sauces, where they have a handful of options — is limited.

Sono does do something really, really well: chips. They make them in-house, slicing tortillas and then frying them on the spot before serving them warm.

This considered, their nachos have to be outstanding, right? Wrong. They’re missing out on the key essential: queso.

Queso-less nachos? That’s the operation. Sono uses shredded cheese on their nachos — and they don’t melt it either. Who invented this kind of food?

Skip Sono. Drive down the street to Chipotle and be thankful you did.

Mondo Subs

Mondo Subs drew my attention by the name alone. It’s reminiscent of the antagonistic burger retailer Mondo Burger from the 1997 Nickelodeon movie “Good Burger.”

In the movie, Mondo Burger is discovered to be adding an illegal substance to its eye-catching burgers, which runs the restaurant into trouble.

Thankfully, Mondo Subs appears to have a better reputation than the fictional 90s burger house.

Should you be burnt out on Chick-fil-A, Mondo Subs should be your new go-to.

They’re not a killer sub. Like the previous tenant, Mondo Subs is average, at best. The selection isn’t half as plentiful as Erbert & Gerbert’s. The toppings aren’t as substantial as I would have hoped for. Avocados aren’t actually avocados, but a guacamole-like spread that doesn’t taste fit for a sandwich. Anything else you might want, they likely have, but nothing is out of the ordinary.

Mondo Subs offers whole wheat, white or flatbread as the base, and if you elect to get it toasted, it’ll make the meal monumentally better. Crisp, warm bread is a refreshing start, but the quick cook time in the oven isn’t enough to warm the meat, cheese or veggies, leaving a disturbing, off-balance contrast between the outside and inside of the sandwich. The toppings are just too cold to match the cook time on their oven — but I hope there is a remedy to bring the sub joint more success.

Oh, and if you’re into chips, don’t settle for Mondo’s. They’re kettle cooked and bagged on the spot. They’re not served warm and are sort of stale with a taste caught between Heinz ketchup and an odd barbecue sauce. Skip ‘em.

Mondo Subs isn’t much different than your typical sub restaurant, and if a new sub retailer replaces them a few years down the road, we’re not going to know much of a difference.

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