Saturday, January 03, 2004

Vegetarians Like Burritos

An interesting article in The Washington Post this morning looks at the growing sway of fast-casual Mexican-style restaurants -- Wielding the Bang Of a Big Burrito. The thing that wasn't overtly mentioned in the article, but that caught my eye, was the appeal of such places for vegetarians.

In talking about how these fast-casual places took market share away from old sit-down Mexican-style chain restaurants, the article notes that the new places are "emphasizing fresh ingredients, speed and lower prices in a lively atmosphere."
Chipotle, known for its overstuffed burritos, prides itself on gourmet touches: cilantro-lime rice, vegetarian-diet Bell & Evans chicken, Niman Ranch's free-range pork, and lots of spice. Baja Fresh has its signature self-serve salsa bar and advertises beans simmered without lard.
Both places, as well as Burrito Brothers, the D.C. area chain that's loads better than Chipotle or Baja Fresh, are very vegetarian friendly and make a point of noting that on their menu boards. I'm not saying that vegetarians are totally responsible for the boom in fast-casual Mexican food ... but it helps.

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