In my humble Chipotle-evaluating opinion, our group saved one of the standard-bearers to close out our adventures in Virginia. The Ballston location is an old classic that understands the best seating layout, has an extremely fast and efficient staff moving like a machine, and a generous amount of outdoor space. This is a theme I have been discussing in recent posts as we have visited lots of newer and smaller locations. I have spent plenty of time in the Ballston Chipotle over the last few years; it’s probably my second most visited location after College Park. The line is usually long but always moving. Though crowded, there is always a place to sit beyond one of the bar stools. And I don’t think I even need to mention that beautifully classic sign.
On this evening, our group of six could not pass up the opportunity to sit outside on this refreshingly mild summer night. The area of tables is excellent for people watching on Wilson Blvd. as Ballstonians scurry in and out of the mall. So we lounged about, slowly sipping our assorted Mexican beers, and luxuriating with burritos in hand. This is what I want from a Chipotle; a place that practically encourages the taking of a Mexican siesta, back on your couch at home of course, not at those aluminum topped tables.
If you wanted to take your burrito on the go, say on your lunch break from work, an extremely common place to find people of the same mind is the very small Wellburn Park, thought of by many as the “town square” of Ballston. This is that circular patch of grass surrounded by benches across from the bus stops on Stuart St. With the 20 some-odd story condo building being the fixture that it is in Ballston, this park presents a great dilemma to dog-owning residents. Whereas there are posted signs about pets not being allowed within the park, grass comes at a high premium in this small downtown area, and many a dog and owner combo I have seen violating the sacred Wellburn Park, like the nefarious looking individual pictured here.
- Today’s menu: Salad with chicken, black beans, red-tomatillo salsa, corn salsa, cheese, and honey-chipotle viniagrette.
- Free Lunch: A (My high school economics teacher always said, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Well Aaron’s co-worker’s business card being pulled and rewarded with the free burritos for ten proves that this location is bucking that trend and living up to their weekly word.)
- Parking: D- (For all the ease in every other aspect of this place, it is really annoying to find a street space to park in, which is true of most to all of Ballston.)
- Take-out exit: B+ (Due to the total lack of parking, it is frequently necessary to opt for the carry-out option here if you didn’t walk or succumb to the garage. Helpfully, there is a side exit-only door right next to the cash register for a quick exit to your idling get-away car.)
Location tip: Many may not know that if you ever want to experience the Washington Capitals up close and personal at the extraordinarily discounted rate of…free, you can catch their morning skate at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex. The complex is located on the top floor of the Ballston Mall parking garage and is open to the public for every Caps morning practice during the season. After hockey practice and a burrito, try Carpool for a relaxing afternoon of various and sundry bar games.