Monday, June 7, 2010

Qdoba or not Qdoba.

(My apologies to Will Shakespeare.) 

I can thank Qdoba for at least one thing.

If it weren't for their restaurant on Walnut Street in Philadelphia, my son's college diet would consist of beer and tortilla chips. Thanks to them it is tacos, queso, beer and tortilla chips. He might even add a little lettuce to the tacos, so that's one vegetable serving a day. Like I say, for that I am grateful.

He's back for a while this summer so we visited the Qdoba restaurant in the Tower Building downtown. I like Qdoba it for the most part. The best menu item is the queso, it's as good as you can get in a fast food restaurant.

I was pretty excited the first time I visited the Qdoba-concept restaurant a few years ago. Now, and dozens of visits later, I have one main complaint and one minor complaint.

The biggest problem I have is with the food temperature, especially their signature burrito. Hot food should be served hot and cold food should be served cold. Simple. Qdoba's food, by the time I sit down, is luke-warm, and that keeps me from giving them high marks.

The taste is good, the service is good, but the food-warming basins are not kept hot enough, probably for insurance purposes, the rice is often cool, and then, by the time your food sits in the prep line and you wait to check out, the burrito's way too cooled off for me.

The other thing, and this is a minor point, but it seems expensive for what you get.

Now, I am happy to go to any restaurant of my children's choosing because a good meal is more than the food. We all know that. But if I could get that burrito served piping hot I'd go back, on my own, a lot more often.


Michael Bourgon said...

Personally, I'd rather do Freebirds. Qdoba has too much Cilantro in their rice. And the fact that I'm an Aggie and the first Freebirds was in College Station probably has something to do with it. Finally, and this shouldn't matter much to me, Qdoba is owned by Jack in the Box.

your mom said...

I used to love Qdoba before Chipotle came to town (when it was still called Ztecka or something like that) with Freebirds a distant second. People are equally divided between the three restaurants as to which is their favorite. Qdoba owned by JITB (I did not know that),Chipotle is or was owned by McDonalds and I know that Freebirds has been bought by a big corporation as well, that's just what happens. Having to go to one or the other would not be the end of the world, I just prefer Chipotle.

Francis Shivone said...

Michael and mom --

I did not know that J/Box had an interest in Qdoba. I did know that McD's bought Chipotle. Never been to a Freebirds. Chipotle has the same problem Qdoba has, in my opinion, and that is a lukewarm burrito. I just wish it could be hotter, temperature wise.

Stephanie said...

i am a burrito-bowl-from-chipotle kind of girl... but before i stayed home with my children I worked downtown, and had qdoba many times. not my thing... i always wanted to go next door to potbelly's. mmm... i love potbellys! never really understood the draw to qdoba. something about the vibe of that one in particular. maybe it is the carpet in the eating area? {if my memory serves me correctly} It just isn't the kind of place i want to go to.

Anonymous said...

Yep - 'tis true, Jack in the Box owns Qdoba. Both Qdoba and Chipotle started in Denver as small independents. McDonalds swooped up Chipotle (and has since divested it to its own publicly traded company). That's what started it - JITB gets Qdoba and Wendy's bought Baja Fresh (the latter has since been dumped to a private firm).

Like any large corporation, Qdoba's fluctuate wildly from location to location. We're here in Denver now, and they're different depending on which neighborhood your in (and there's one practically on every corner here).

Personally, I prefer to Qdoba to Chipotle for two reasons: 1) I love their ground sirloin burrito. 2) They have a killer tasting habanero sauce.

Freebird's is very good as well, and they finally opened one up in NE Tarrant late last year.