Chipotle Mexican Grill

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There’s a new kid on Marshall Street and no, it’s not some obscure restaurant no one's heard about … it’s Chipotle, the Mexican fast-food joint taking the country by storm. With more than 1,000 restaurants around the country, it’s safe to say that people all over have jumped on the Chipotle bandwagon, and the University has taken to the place in likely fashion. The chain, which opened on Marshall Street in April 2011, is on a mission to provide “Food With Integrity” by offering local and sustainable ingredients, but what you get is enough tasty grub to put you in a food coma. From the burritos to the chips, Chipotle offers quick Mexican food in a lively atmosphere for a reasonable, student-friendly price.

When to Go: Chipotle is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., perfect for lunch, dinner and even a late-night snack. Although it may be fast food, be wary of prime lunch and dinner hours that can have you waiting for quite a bit of time, along with herds of others trying to get their Mexican food fix. If you’re in a rush or don’t have the patience to wait a few minutes on line, it’s best to avoid the restaurant during high-volume times. Not to say the wait is unbearable, just bearable enough. The restaurant is big enough to comfortably fit the volume of people it gets, but I wouldn’t suggest throwing your next big party here. If "people watching" is something you enjoy, take a seat on one of the stools appropriately faced to watch passers-by up and down Marshall Street. The bottom line: It’s unusual for Chipotle to be busy enough that you should avoid it at all costs, but during popular lunch and dinner times, you will need some patience.

On Tap: If you’re looking for a nice, cold Corona to go along with your chips and salsa, you’ll have to wait a little longer as the restaurant’s liquor license is still pending. However, there is another type of bar here, except instead of alcohol this one is filled with a variety of ingredients — beans, meats, vegetables and different salsas. The bottom line: Chipotle is all about fast, flavorful food, not a long list of fruity margaritas.

Blue Plate Special: One of the main attractions is the ability to create your own meal. The cafeteria-style line of different ingredients placed behind a glass window allows for customers to see all the different options and craft their own burrito. You can also choose to make your own taco, burrito bowl, or salad. All the portion sizes are monstrous, so come hungry or save the other half for lunch tomorrow. The bottom line: If the choices are overwhelming, you can’t go wrong with a chicken burrito and your preferred toppings.

The Scene: It's a far cry from what some may think a “typical” Mexican restaurant looks like — bright colors and fun decorations. Instead you’ll find stainless steel tables, concrete floors and dim lighting that could very easily put you to sleep if it weren't for all the noise. With music playing and plenty of customers chatting away, Chipotle isn’t necessarily a relaxing environment, but it does create a fun atmosphere to grab a bite (a big one at that) with friends. The bottom line: Though the décor might come off as cold and dark, the upbeat ambience is anything but.

The Crew: Don’t expect to foster some great customer-to-server relationship here. Employees are mainly focused on getting rid of the line, which coincides with fast service. However, you will find friendly and proficient workers who are able to take, make and serve your order just as you like it. The bottom line: Chipotle’s employees are clearly capable of getting large crowds of customers their food quickly.  

The Crowd: Massive portion sizes, Mexican food and affordable price means one thing: college students. Walk through the doors during any time of day and young faces will greet you, most of which are half-covered by a burrito. Though some may think the crowd is a little noisy (and just wait until that liquor license gets approved), at least it’s a restaurant that feels alive and welcoming. The bottom line: Good food, budget-friendly and within close proximity to SU … get ready for college student overload.  

The Deets: The prices are reasonable, especially for the amount and quality of food you are getting. If you’re looking for fast-food prices with caviar taste, Chipotle is a great bang for your buck. The prices vary on whether you order a burrito, taco, salad, or bowl and which type of meat you choose. They typically range from around $6.50-$7, including any amount of toppings besides guacamole, which is available for an additional $1.95. They also offer chips and salsa or guacamole for $2 and $3.15. The bottom line: Chipotle is the place to beat when it comes to fast-food Mexican joints.

Profile by Pamela Masin



129 Marshall St.
Syracuse, NY 13210
(315) 422-1904

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