Competition rules most of everything. You can see obvious competitions in clothing companies, banks, furniture stores and, yes, even in Mexican grills.There are two main Mexican grills near the Penn State campus. One being the ever-popular Chipotle and the other, Qdoba, just a few blocks down from Chipotle and lesser known to the students I’ve encountered during my time here.
Burritos are hot items these days (figuratively and literally, if the person preparing your burrito has done their part correctly). However, sometimes a hot burrito is just impossible. I find this to be true at Chipotle, where during most of the time it is open to the public there are lines that go around the entire store and seem to never decrease. If you’re at the back of the line, it will typically take you 15 minutes to get to the counter and, even after your burrito is made, it can still take five minutes to pay for it.
But, this doesn’t mean it’s a terrible place. It’s very loud, being filled with music and the voices of at least 100 students. This, and the vision of a burrito-making station ahead, allow for you to be distracted so the time you wait no longer matters (sometimes). Still, there are complaints about timing which I think can be easily resolved.
In the time that it takes you to stand in line at Chipotle, you could have walked to Qdoba (from Pollock Commons) and be already sitting down, biting into your burrito. Qdoba usually has a total 0f 6 people there, with 20 being the most I’ve ever seen in one sitting.
The foods, although similar in style, are a bit different in taste. Chipotle is much more flavorful, but this doesn’t mean it’s better. Chipotle often advertises its usage of natural ingredients, but those natural flavors are often masked by spices and other flavors that will end with you crying over your burrito. Qdoba also uses fresh ingredients, but uses less of them to mask their flavorings in a style it describes as ‘San Francisco’ (another reason to visit California). Personally, Qdoba tastes better to me. I know both burritos are well over 1,000 calories (which is equivalent to about two meals) but Qdoba doesn’t leave me teary-eyed and with stomach pains like Chipotle.
For most students, Chipotle is the better option when you are hungry and need food that is close by. But, if you want to save yourself some time and heat-induced-tears, Qdoba is the way to go. You’ll get the same type of food for the same amount of money but you’ll get it in a timely fashion and be happier because when things taste better you forget how many calories are in them!
Location: 116 Heister St., State College, PA 16801
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sun 11 am-10 pm
Location: 208 W College Ave., State College, PA 16801
Hours of Operation: Sun–Sat 11 am– 8 pm