The long-awaited 19th of soon to be 20 Chipotle locations (Get on your horse Union Station) finally opened in Falls Church last Thursday, and we were there to mark our 10th visit in the challenge. As previously reported, the true grand opening with the expected promotional deals occurred on Friday, June 25th; however, if you were paying attention, the best deal for everyone was for the charity “soft” opening on Thursday night. With all proceeds going to Falls Church Community Special Events, the restaurant offered every customer between 5-8 pm a burrito, order of chips and guacamole, and a drink for only $5. Our group of eight made it at the wire with about a minute to spare on the deal, which means we also closed down the place that night.
The place was as packed as one of its own tortillas, and it took us about an hour to get through the line to order our food. Being built into a former Duron paint store in the middle of this crowded shopping plaza, the space is a bit of an awkward one to work with on the inside. Because of the layout, there is a a table that separates the line from the rest of the restaurant. It worked perfectly for the eight of us as the last customers in the restaurant, but I can’t imagine people wanting to sit there while there is a full line of people hovering hungrily by. We’ll see how that works out for them in the fall when I am here every other Sunday picking up boxed burritos for Ravens watching parties in the neighborhood.
The staff seemed to be pretty excited to be there for the opening and because we were there so late, we had the pleasure of witnessing their opportunity to all sit and eat together and hear the post-game pep talk from the management on a doing a good job of getting through the first tough night.
The major new element I noticed was a new layout for the menu which is more of an instruction manual on how to build your burrito than the old style. There was also a noticeable addition speaking to the organic and free range practices that Chipotle has been enhancing for years now. Another thing about the beauty of keeping things simple in their menu and ingredients, it is all that much easier to trumpet the the environmentally friendly aspects of the food, which is becoming a huge selling point to so many Americans these days.
- Today’s Menu: Carnitas burrito, pinto beans, green and red tomatillo salsa, cheese, and lettuce.
- Community Spirit: A+ (There was a line halfway down the shopping center the whole night, so that is a lot of $5 donations to Falls Church Community Special Events and plenty of happy Falls Churchians getting a great deal.)
- Kinks: C (Lots of them to work out, but that is why you do these specials the first few nights to keep people happy while the workers find their rhythm. Last night’s biggest issue was probably just too many cooks in the kitchen with about 9 people working the serving line alone. I have faith they will be much speedier with the salsa ladling by the end of this first weekend.)
- Management: A (Really nice guy who allowed us to sneak in our group of eight right at the wire of the end of the promotion deal)
Location Tip: The main strip of Falls Church has been growing quite a lot in the past year or two and a new brewpub is next to come. Although I am sadly unfamiliar with the beers being brewed by Bill Madden for 13 years in the DC area and popular amongst the locals, the first brewpub for the brand looks promising. Mad Fox Brewpub is expected to open in mid-July now that the proper licensing has been obtained and the brewing of the first batches has begun. The State Theater around the corner has a pretty interesting mix of live music, movie events, and generally silly things running all year. We also have it on good authority that this place gets pretty wild every weekend… and weekday night.