MCCAMBRIDGE AND WU: Yale needs Chipotle

Dear Chipotle,

Come to New Haven! Set us free from the repression of the overpriced and underwhelming! Let my people go … order burritos!

We’ve been in New Haven for almost six months now, and while we are just as in love with Yale as ever, we are generally dissatisfied with the food options New Haven has to offer beyond the dining halls. Sure, New Haven is a great place for your caffeine fix or fro-yo or cheap Asian food, but in terms of classic down to earth American nourishment — and what’s more American than 900 calories wrapped in a tortilla with a large drink? — it doesn’t quite deliver.

Neopolitan pizza, Wenzels and Insomnia cookies make for nice midnight snacks, but they don’t leave you with the same sense of gastric satisfaction as a full meal. And we gather we’re not alone in our belief and longing; last Monday night we joined a mob in the Branford courtyard waiting not for a Master’s Tea or an a cappella concert but for 80 Chipotle burritos waiting for us inside Master Elizabeth Bradley’s house — all of which were claimed and devoured in under five minutes.

Now, not to be whiners (we do love Yale, after all), but some of our other Ivy League brethren have it much better in terms of under-$10, high quality fast food sustenance. Penn, Columbia, Brown, Cornell and Harvard all have Chipotles ­— in addition to other delectable choices such as Five Guys and Qdoba. Even tiny little Princeton, N.J. has a Panera on Nassau Street.

Sadly, the only school we feel confident saying our options are better than is Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H., putting us at dismal seventh in the Ivy League fast food rankings. If Yale is vastly superior to all of these schools — as is obvious to all of us — then why shouldn’t our food options be superior as well? Perhaps good nourishment will give us the brains and the brawn to stay on top of our schoolwork and other schools.

Yes, we are aware that there is a Chipotle in Milford, but as far as the Yale bubble and our walking legs are concerned, that might as well be on the other side of the world. While the burrito carts on York Street and outside the Medical School can satisfy a Mexican food craving, they’re not always present — and maybe not always trustworthy. On the other hand, a brick and mortar establishment with an awning bearing the name of a reputable restaurant chain would always be there to give us the product we love and expect.

And if the grime of Yorkside and seediness of G-Heav make you feel like you are fighting the American corporate restaurant machine — and if Willie Nelson singing The Scientist to a group of happy farmers and pigs on the newest commercial doesn’t make your heart swoon for Chipotle — well, then, good for you. In our opinion, there is a reason chains like Chipotle are successful: The food and atmosphere are simply excellent.

We are a few weeks past the one-year anniversary of a News article (“A Chipotle for New Haven?” Jan. 31, 2011) detailing rumors of a potential New Haven Chipotle to open in 2012. Alas, we have heard and seen nothing since then. So, to Steve Ells and the other gods of the Chipotle boardroom, masterminds of all things delicious, allow us to reassure you. Take a chance on us. We know that the all-inclusive Yale meal plan and surrounding neighborhoods may not make us look like a prime destination, but allow us to prove you wrong.

Come to Yale and spice up our dining experience; we will personally be first in line to worship you with our orders. We’ll have a Barbacoa burrito with white rice, black beans, hot salsa, pico de gallo, sour cream and cheese, please.

Gordon McCambridge and Michael Wu are freshmen in Branford College.

Comments

  • silliwin01

    Seediness of G-Heav? They sell Boar’s Head and Toblorone…

    • MC09

      Boar’s Head is mediocre at best.

  • jamesdakrn

    Chipotle is good. But it is not enough.

    What we need is the orgasmic flavor of Carne Asada Fries, native to San Diego.

    Or,

    a real Taqueria that serves not “steak” or “chicken” (which really should be carne asada and pollo asado)
    but all kinds of Mexican meat, such as buche, tripa, cabeza, lengua, etc.

    But seriously, New Haven needs a huge overhaul of its Mexican food.

    If the rice is yellow it is not Mexican. If the beans are not refried beans it’s not Mexican. If the taco tortilla is flour, it is not Mexican.

    • grumpyalum

      BS. To claim that flour tortillas are not Mexican is silly. Mexican is more than just Southern/Central Mexico. In the frontera, flour tortillas are very prevalent.

      Don’t need more of you puritans claiming what Mexican food is based on what it’s in Puebla.

      Anyway, if you need good Mexican food (though it will be Northern Mexico style), go to http://www.yelp.com/biz/tortilleria-la-michoacana-new-haven

    • little_mango

      I want grasshopper tacos. I’m Mexican.

  • onlineproductmanager

    La Cosinita on the corner of Park and Chapel — one of the best burrito and taco places I’ve ever been to (not just in New Haven). I don’t need no damn Chipotle when that place is in town. It’s so authentic, they even answer the phone in Spanish.

    • onlineproductmanager

      Re: Cosinita. You can get two authentically prepared, delicious tacos, feel quite full, and be $5 poorer. It’s the best freaking deal in town, and I’m really really surprised that no one else has discovered this gem. And they’re open late!

      • grumpyalum

        Dude. Chips and salsa from there is legit. Also their tacos.

    • joematcha

      They are so, so good. Also, the people who work there are incredibly friendly and they often offer unique offerings depending on the season.

    • CX

      That place is the hidden gem of New Haven. Best Mexican food I’ve ever had.

  • ms2676

    Chipotle is OK, a bit overrated in my opinion. I’d be happy with a Panera, or even a restaurant like Chilis, or Outback.

    There are plenty of great restaurants on Chapel Street if you have the $$ to spend, but, who of us does?

  • Nhoopster13H

    No, McCambridge/Wu, I’d be first in line. I have written several letters to chipotle about the need to open a store here!

  • jsingh

    We need a McDonalds

    • commenter

      There’s one on Whalley just past Stop and Shop. Bit outside the Yale bubble though

  • Bouchet

    There is a reason there is no Chipotle near Campus yet. They know that they would be absolute dominated by the burrito cart.

    • Robbie

      None can comprehend the force that is the burrito cart!

  • Quals

    Haven’t you guys tried Moe’s on Whitney? It’s pretty good, and about the same price range.

  • River_Tam

    Burrito Cart 4 lyfe.

  • cyalie

    You don’t have to walk all the way to milford…take the 55x to the CT Post Mall. It’s really easy (costs $1.30) and a short trip. There is a Panera Bread there too.

  • TheFriendlyGod

    “While the burrito carts on York Street and outside the Medical School can satisfy a Mexican food craving, they’re not always present — and maybe not always trustworthy. On the other hand, a brick and mortar establishment with an awning bearing the name of a reputable restaurant chain would always be there to give us the product we love and expect.”

    What the hell is “maybe not always trustworthy” supposed to mean?? Are you scared the guy’s gonna spit in your burrito? He’s out there to sell burritos and that’s what he does. And they’re completely delicious (just about the tastiest thing I’ve had in New Haven, and that’s saying something) and $6. Two tacos for $5. And the guy who works there is a total sweetheart, too. Don’t be intimidated by the lack of a big-chain name. There is NOTHING shady about the burrito cart.

    It’s a fair complaint that the cart isn’t always present, but La Cocinita, the restaurant that runs the cart, is. It’s easily accessible on Park and Chapel. I haven’t eaten there, but prices are like the food cart and I would assume the food is at least as good. TD students who can’t walk out to that corner of campus have Moe’s Southwest Grill to frequent.

    Why is it necessary for burrito-loving Yalies to wait for a national chain to come to them, when it would be so easy to explore and support what New Haven, a city with a significant Mexican population, already has to offer?

    • River_Tam

      > And they’re completely delicious (just about the tastiest thing I’ve had in New Haven, and that’s saying something) and $6.

      THIS.

    • Inigo_Montoya

      Exactly.

  • gz2012

    Chipotle is infinitely inferior to the burrito carts, Ay Salsa, and just about every other authentic Latin place in New Haven, of which there are many. The fact that you haven’t found them just means you haven’t looked.

    Chipotle, please don’t come to New Haven. The last thing we need is a bland national chain to displace real Latin food and local restaurants.

    • commenter

      Agreed. Unfortunately, Ay Salsa closed down :(

      • alsoanon

        Nope, they’re renovating (so I heard). The original owner/current Arepa Cart dude is coming back. Now if they’ll just lower those ridiculous prices everything will be perfect again.

  • CrazyBus

    Chipotle > Burrito cart (at least the one’s on elm/york)

  • hzaleskimd

    Surely you are kidding regarding Chipotle. (1) It is owned and managed by McDonald’s and we all know the degree of excellence and quality associated with their food; (2) living in Texas, the vast “distance” between “true” Mexican food–burritos, tacos, carnitos, etc.–should be evident to anyone who has had truly original Mexican food. Take a chance and go to some “hole in the wall”, family run Mexican restaurant and truly enjoy something wonderful.

  • y07hls10

    This is, quite possibly, the stupidest article I have ever read in my entire life. The burrito cart (i.e., the former-Roomba burrito cart) is not only the best thing to eat in New Haven, not only the best Mission-style burrito in the United States (I worked in San Francisco and compared to the original Mission-style burritos. To my amazement, the burrito cart is better), but the actual best food one can get anywhere. A burrito-cart burrito would be my last meal request. I’m seriously thinking of having Arturo Franco-Camacho cater my upcoming wedding. I had to limit myself to no more than three (okay, four) burritos a week because more just seemed edging towards compulsive. I have driven two hours out of my way on a road trip to stop in New Haven and run out from my car to stand in the rain in line at the burrito cart. I have had my fiance bring one to me on his way up from New York to Boston, where I reheated it in the oven (still in the foil) and it was STILL better than any other burrito I ever had in Boston.

    And all that aside, New Haven is one of the best food cities that I’ve ever been to. Amazing pizza available at all levels of effort (easier: Bar, Brick Oven; harder: Modern, Pepe’s/Sally’s); Rudy’s pitchers + frites; Mamoun’s totally serviceable falafel and baklava; Louis Lunch (and let’s all take a moment to mourn for the late, lamented Yankee Doodle); Miya’s totally weirdo and delicious vegetarian sushi; Thai Row, where the you can get some of the best Thai for your money that I’ve ever had; the delicious burger at Anna Liffey’s; the world’s greatest date restaurant in Soul de Cuba (get the ropa vieja. And the picadillo. And some plantains); Istanbul (for when your parents are paying, but still spectacular Turkish food); Atticus’s gorgeous cranberry walnut bread and renowned black bean soup; L’Orcio for swanky Italian; Ashley’s for solid, unobjectionable, better than chain, ice cream; Nica’s for homemade sauces and pastas; Koffee for awesome and weird tea (and, I suppose, coffee?); Union League for the second-best club sandwich I’ve ever had; Royal India for the sweet, delightful service, amazing-value food, and FREE KHEER; the Wenzel should really not be dismissed in a half-sentence aside like it’s not one of the most amazing sandwiches ever assembled from quotidian ingredients; my fiance will kill me if I leave off the Tempesto at Book Trader; Foxon Park sodas (white birch beer!); the “Spicy Chicken” from the “General Asian” cart by the med school, made from orange hot sauce and magic; and Sandra’s on Congress for sweet tea and collards. To name a few!

    Look, I LIKE Chipotle. (The closest I could come to the burrito cart in many places I’ve lived, in fact.) But to complain about not having it when you have so much more that’s so much better is just stupid. New Haven is your oyster, frosh. Go forth and eat. (Pro-tip: Yorkside for chocolate milkshakes only. Avoid the pizza. Go to Brick Oven.)

    • River_Tam

      > I’m seriously thinking of having Arturo Franco-Camacho cater my upcoming wedding.

      I think I love you.

      • yalengineer

        Are you going to be at the upcoming wedding?

        • River_Tam

          Well, if they’re serving burritos from the burrito cart, I damn well hope so.

    • CBKM

      Yes all of this, all of it (especially Brick Oven, which is so wrongly ignored by so many– they have good beer there, even!).

    • TheFriendlyGod

      Nah, brah, Greek Sampler at Yorkside! Yummy spanakopita, cheese pie, and a decent Greek salad into the bargain. All the grease just feels appropriate when it’s Greece grease.

      Other than that–your post is spot-on.

    • grumpyalum

      Can we hang out in New Haven sometime? You understand how awesome it all is.

    • penny_lane

      AGREED. I miss the varied and largely affordable but always tasty options New Haven provided. Don’t forget York St Noodle, Thali, Zaroka, Pot Au Pho, Caseus, Claire’s, Lalibela, Barcelona, Prime 16…and everything is so walkable from anywhere on Yale campus.

      Whenever I want to impress a date in the city I’m in now, I mourn that my options are so limited.

  • onlineproductmanager
  • alsoanon

    Harvard students aren’t lucky because of Chipotle, they’re lucky because of Felipe’s Taqueria and/or Anna’s Taqueria (if you want to venture out to Davis Square, that is). People who prefer Chipotle to those two Cambridge institutions are heathens.

    • Inigo_Montoya

      Truth.

    • yalengineer

      There is also the Anna’s in MIT. Best Taqueria.

      • alsoanon

        And in Porter, right? I’m a Felipe’s loyalist myself but either one is honestly phenomenal.

  • desch

    This is embarrassing. With a huge latino community nearby and plenty of options…

    Anyway. Try la Carretta over in East Rock, it’s pretty close to authentic and it’s great.

  • yayasisterhood

    CONTROVERSY!!!!!!!!

  • River_Tam

    These freshmen need to be smacked upside the head.

  • vlewis12

    Is the YDN really this hard up for op-eds?

  • edm2012

    This is the most immature article ever written

  • commenter

    The only people that think Chipotle is good Mexican food are people who haven’t actually had authentic Mexican food…

    • ycollege14

      AMEN.

    • CrazyBus

      I like Chipotle because I think it tastes good. Do I think it’s authentic Mexican food? I’ve never made that claim.

      It’s like how I enjoy Panda Express, knowing that it is not even close to Chinese food. Just because it’s not “authentic” doesn’t automatically mean it tastes bad. And taste is subjective. You are free to think it tastes bad, just like how I am free to prefer it to more “authentic” options.

      The question shouldn’t be which is more authentic, it should be which people prefer to eat.

      • commenter

        I didn’t say people who like Chipotle have bad taste. I meant to emphasize the difference between Mexican food and American Mexican food. Chipotle is American Mexican food, just like I would say Taco Bell is. For something to be GOOD Mexican food, it should probably BE Mexican food. Similarly, I wouldn’t say the people who like fast-food American Chinese have bad taste, but it is not Chinese food.

  • Bouchet

    What happened to Yale students? Eating greazy Wenzels, falafel from Mamouns and ALADDIN CROWN, unique pizza, great Thai from carts or restaurants, sushi and sake bombs at Miyas and Samaurai, heck even black bean soup with nice salads from Atticus is what made Yale great.

    Don’t ever change.

    Yale 2005.

  • Frashizzle

    I’ve never heard anyone say “outside of the dining halls, New Haven doesn’t have a lot of food options to offer.” I think I’m actually upset about this, even though this is such a light-hearted topic.

    • alsoanon

      I know, right? That statement is literally the opposite of what is true.

      • joematcha

        I agree. This is an absurd politician level of disregarding facts.

  • ashe12

    burrito from York St. cart with extra “slaw” during a cold January afternoon — possibly greatest burrito of my life

  • joematcha

    Ok, I normally only say this jokingly, but in all serious these kids are objectively wrong. I wouldn’t have a problem with Chipotle coming to New Haven, but there are so many places here that are great. Besides the carts (which are stocked from many of the restaurants that other people have listed), there is La Cocinita downtown and Mezcal in East Rock. There are definitely a few more that others point out, but these are the two I’m most familiar with having been lucky enough to live beside them at different points in my New Haven life. If you think Chipotle even compares to either of these, you have clearly not eaten at either. Please actually explore the city before deciding what needs or needn’t come. kthnxbi

    • CrazyBus

      Different people have different tastes. Just because you enjoy La Cocinita more than Chipotle doesn’t mean that everyone else must as well. What happened to tolerance of different opinions?

      • alsoanon

        You can like Chipotle, just don’t insinuate (not you, the OPs) that because we don’t have one all New Haven food sucks. That’s just ignorant.

      • joematcha

        Different people do have different tastes, but the article is not saying that they love Chipotle and they would appreciate that option as well. It is saying that the food here sucks therefore they need a Chipotle. There is just no version of reality where that’s true. Chipotle can come, but let’s not have people dismiss all the great food options here as a reason it needs to be in New Haven.

        • CrazyBus

          True there are many great places to eat in New Haven. I think them saying that there is a dearth is merely because they are trying too hard to justify wanting one.

          Also, as much as I like Chipotle, I’d choose Ivy Noodle over that.

  • yalengineer

    Dear me! We Californians like totally need to have In ‘N Out!!!!!

    Welcome to Connecticut. Leave your ridiculous restaurant chains back West. This article is like demanding that a CPK needs to be opened in New Haven.

    • alsoanon

      I mostly agree except I would probably kill someone to get Waffle House to expand franchises into the Northeast.

      • penny_lane

        Even (or especially?) as a New Englander, I just have to say, WORD. I have happy dreams about Waffle House.

      • yalengineer

        I might have to change my opinion; Waffle Houses should probably be imported.

    • River_Tam

      In-N-Out is good, not great. CPK and Chipotle suck.

  • silliwin01

    Whoever said that Yorkside is only good for for milkshakes clearly hasn’t tried the BCG with a small side of hot sauce.

  • chandlerpv

    People need to calm down. All the author is trying to do is say that he wants a chipotle in new haven. Yes, It’s a good idea.

    Nobody cares about “how much better authentic mexican food is” or “that there are so many good places to eat in new haven” or “you’re disenfranchising and undermining the value of other great ‘hole in the wall’ authentic mexican options”. the author just wants a chipotle. Can anybody really say that they are vehemently opposed to chipotle in new haven? Did chipotle wrong you in any way? the answer is no… it just tastes good.

    I don’t get why this is today’s most discussed article. If you want a chipotle, rejoice! This author wants one too! If you are indifferent, then don’t post here. If your life is trivial enough that you’re hot and bothered by this article, i suggest you find a day job, or get a girlfriend/boyfriend..

    • grumpyalum

      Dude. Stop trolling. :)
      REL. STUDIES FOR LYFE!

      Also, it’s not just simply about the Chipotle – it really is a symptomatic issue that Yalies like to replace what’s already here with their suburban lifestyle, without ever taking into account that New Haven provides for people other than Yalies and that there are things in the city outside of Broadway that might offer something to them.

      Anyway, we both don’t have a life.

    • River_Tam

      > Can anybody really say that they are vehemently opposed to chipotle in new haven?

      Yes. I am vehemently opposed to a Chipotle in New Haven. It tastes disgusting.

  • edm2012

    They’re not just saying that they want Chipotle here. They’re also saying that New Haven has no good high quality, cheap dining options, a statement that basically everyone who’s commented here disagrees with. They’re freshman, so I understand that they may not explored much besides G-Heav, Yorkside, and a couple of other places, but it’s not right to make the sweeping generalization that New Haven has no good, cheap food without actually having made an effort to find it.

    • 13

      Couldn’t agree more. Let’s cut these kids a break, they’re freshmen and made the mistake of thinking that the Yale bubble (here Broadway and York) was the entirety of New Haven. I just hope they get out more and find out about the real quality of this city’s food – not just burritos either – before they graduate.

  • penny_lane

    New Haven offers you delicious and affordable food from every continent (except Antarctica), all within walking distance of campus and the most popular off campus housing. Go forth and eat. You’ll forget all about Chipotle.

  • yalengineer

    I am currently living in Palo Alto. Let me tell you all about the good, cheap food in Palo Alto. It can be summarized as Chipotle.

  • LtwLimulus90

    MOE’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sara

    Chipotle? That’s nonsense. If you consider areas within a 3-mile walk radius (since including Campbell Ave is a must), New Haven is hands-down the best food city in the United States. LA and NYC are the only cities that may have equivalently high quality options, but it would take you literally years worth of driving or subway rides to find them.

  • The Anti-Yale

    “our options are better than is Dartmouth”

    Haven’t you been reading the New York papers? Dartmouth’s hazing scandal produced the “vomit omelette

    PK”