OK, OK, we all know that Chipotle Mexican Grills are pretty much standard wherever you go, right? Same discouraging long lines of hungry patrons; same hard, uncomfortable chairs; same assortment of expensive bottled beverages. Even the same acoustically-challenged bare walls, ceilings, and floors force you to shout across the table so that your dining companion can hear you ask them how their same meal is. But let’s face it, you don’t go to Chipotle's for the ambiance or charm. We all go there for the same reason that I went to the Chipotle’s on Buckeystown Pike in Frederick: The excellent Mexican meal.
To be quite honest with you, I just can’t bring myself to contribute to the tip jar conveniently located by the cashier. It’s not that I don’t tip. I consider myself quite the tipper, in fact. It’s just in Chipotle's, there just isn’t any real service in the joint that justifies a tip. Sure, there are the servers stationed behind the conveyor-belt food bar, where attendants dip healthy helpings of beans, meat, cheese, sour cream, romaine lettuce, guacamole, and some artificial-looking tofu concoction called "sofritas." (I don’t touch the stuff.) In fact, I can’t honestly say that I have even seen an attendant clean the tables. I know it must happen. The tables don’t clean themselves, after all. I just haven’t seen it happen.
And I always have the same thing: Salad with "barbacoa" and cheese, sour cream, hot sauce and guacamole. Yesterday, I had the same the meal as always, and the quality was exactly the same: Excellent. Oh, and an expensive bottled peach beverage. It was peachy.