I enjoy eating campus food and binging from the snack drawer in my dorm room just as much as the next person. But sometimes, those options start to get old. Plus, constantly eating out on a college student’s budget isn’t easy.

Luckily, Rollins College offers a Tex-Mex style buffet that students nicknamed ‘Tarpotle” due to its similarities to the chain restaurant, Chipotle. Having another food option is convenient when cafeteria-style food does not sound appealing.

Plus, Tarpotle accepts students’ meal plan rather than asking them to spare any of their milk money to feast out. However, the question that comes to mind is, “Will this alternative ever replace the popular Mexican food chain that everyone raves about?”

I created a survey, and here is what I found out. 


legume, meat, vegetable
Gabby Simon

Rollins students score Tarpotle 3.58 out of 5 stars on average and score Chipotle 3.72 out of 5 stars on average. While Chipotle takes the cake, the famous chain did not win by much. After reading students’ comments, there are qualities of the Rollins version of Chipotle that many value over the OG.


coffee, beer
Heather Harris

Students stated that the atmosphere in these two restaurants are very different, and that the customer service is much better at Tarpotle. The majority of them said that Chipotle was often loud and a bit crowded while Tarpotle was less packed for the most part and didn't make ordering as stressful for them.

Being that Rollins is a small, private, liberal arts college, it is no surprise that students feel like the faculty at Tarpotle create a more personal connection with their customers.

Food Quality

vegetable, soup, gastronomy
Becky Hughes

Most of the surveyed students scored Chipotle higher for its food quality, which may be due to several reasons.

For one, Chipotle has been around longer than Tarpotle has. This means they have had plenty of time to perfect their recipes and figure out what the public loves and hates about their food.

Tarpotle is not advertised to the general public outside of Rollins. While the food gets decent ratings, the customers are more consistent and from a more limited spectrum of the population, mainly composed of Rollins students and the faculty.

Another reason why Chipotle won over students is the variety they offer. Yes, Tarpotle offers the basic meat, veggies, and chips but they do not offer tofu or taco shells and their sauces are more limited. Chipotle offers all of these options, which pulls in all Mexican food-lovers and all of vegetarians and vegans out there too. 

Final Verdict

After sharing these results, what I am not going to do is tell you which restaurant is better or worse than the other. It’s all about preference. If you’re looking for a place where you can eat Mexican-style grub with your friends and don’t mind spending the extra money, go to Chipotle. If you’re looking for somewhere more intimate, and don’t want to splurge money on food this week, stop by Tarpotle.

Or better yet, do both – add some spice into your life. A little variety never hurt anybody and you really can’t go wrong with either choice.