Chipotle, top of the chain: Restaurant Review
This week’s restaurant review is a Bebe Meals first: a national restaurant chain. Normally reviewing a chain isn’t something I would consider because quite often it would defeat my purpose of helping parents find healthy ways to feed their bebes (and themselves). Yet recently I was contacted by a representative of Chipotle Mexican Grill, informing me that “they were the first national restaurant company to commit to serving naturally raised meat, local and organically grown produce, and the first to serve dairy (cheese and sour cream) made with milk from cows that are not treated with the synthetic hormone rBGH. ...and Chipotle is introducing a kids menu as well!” Those are all things I like to hear so I decided that Dee, Bebe B and I would check it out.
We went to the Chipotle located on the East Side of Madison, Wisconsin one quiet Saturday afternoon. First of all we were pleased to see that in fact their meat, dairy and produce were sourced from organic and local sources as much as possible...this was even stated on their menu. The kid’s menu while basic was very well priced at $2.99 which included, rice, beans, chips and a drink. We choose the chicken and cheese quesadilla for Bebe B (anyone notice a quesadilla trend in Bebe B’s restaurant diet?) and an Organic Valley Chocolate Milk for a drink, they had Organic Valley 2% milk as well. It was the first time she had ever chocolate milk and she adored it! She gobbled up the rice but wasn’t too crazy about the beans. But then part of being an almost two year old is loving a food one day and hating it the next. She wasn’t too interested in the chips but I had fruit with me as well that she ate. The quesadilla went over well also and so I would absolutely count this as a successful lunch out. As for Dee and I we had veggie burritos which were very good although we could not finish them. Some other things of note, I love that they have recycling in their restaurants and that the little tray Bebe B’s meal came on was made of recycled paper. The location we went to was very clean as well as the restrooms, but it would have been nice if they had a changing station/ table.
I will admit when we go out, my first choice is not going to be a chain restaurant but sometimes it’s nice to have something affordable and fast that you can feel good about eating and feeding the little ones. I can honestly say Chipotle is going in my mental restaurant file as a good option for us when we want to go out to eat.
Footnote: This is a completely unbiased review, I received no compensation for this review. We paid for our meals ourselves.
I would also like to include some information shared with me by Chipotle regarding a fundraiser they have going currently benefiting a very worthy cause:
“CHIPOTLE’S INVITATION: SEND US EVEN MORE JUNK
Chipotle’s “No Junk” campaign, which encourages Americans to forward their junk e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org, has been so successful that Chipotle has increased its possible donation from $50,000 to $100,000 if its new goal is reached by August. As previously announced, each forwarded piece of e-mail will help provide nutritious cafeteria meals for school children around the country through a partnership with the nonprofit organization, The Lunch Box.
The more junk e-mail received the more money Chipotle will donate. For every 100,000 junk e-mails Chipotle receives, the company will donate $10,000 to The Lunch Box, which will help to give approximately 32 million school children at 100,000 schools nationwide access to 100 school tested, junk-free recipes created by Chef Ann Cooper, the Renegade Lunch Lady. The “No Junk” campaign launched on June 25 and is slated to run through August, or until Chipotle reaches its new goal of 1,000,000 junk e-mails received, which releases its maximum contribution to The Lunch Box of $100,000.
“Clearly, Chipotle has many like-minded fans when it comes to making sure the nation’s schools have access to better, more sustainably raised food,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle. “The immediate response which got us to 500,000 pieces of junk e-mail inspired us to increase our donation to The Lunch Box, an organization that shares many of our beliefs when it comes to sustainable food.”
As in the first wave of this simple but effective campaign, no e-mail addresses will be automatically captured when junk e-mail is submitted through its no junk campaign, and the content of e-mails will not be read. People who participate in the program will have the opportunity to opt in to Chipotle’s e-mail list, learn more about Chipotle and its commitment to serving “Food with Integrity” on the company’s website, or link to TheLunchBox.org to learn more about that organization and its programs.
Chipotle is committed to using premium quality ingredients from more sustainable sources in its nearly 1,000 restaurants nationwide. That includes more naturally raised meat (from animals that are raised in a humane way, never given antibiotics or added hormones, and fed a pure vegetarian diet) than any other national restaurant company, increasing amounts of local and organically grown produce, and dairy products made with milk from cows that are not treated with the synthetic hormone rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone). Chipotle calls this commitment “Food with Integrity” and it is one of the ways the company is changing the way people think about and eat fast food
Founded by Chef Ann Cooper, the Food, Family, Farming Foundation (F3) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization created to change the food system in the U.S. to an ecologically sound, sustainable model. By empowering schools, families, farms and producers to operate sustainably, F3 enables schools to serve nutritious whole food to all students. F3 educates through training programs, direct services, a Web portal and collateral resources. The foundation's founders are the Chez Panisse Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Orfalea Foundations, the Colorado Health Foundation, the Compton Foundation and Whole Foods Market Inc.”