Sydney Soll, Staff Writer

Burrito. Burrito. Burritos! (You want a burrito now.)

Santa Fe Burrito and other local, semi-fast food Mexican restaurants were never very popular options for a meal. A few years back, the awesome Chipotle gave out free burritos on its opening day. As many of us can recall, the lines went out the door and crowds plagued the Ardmore Shopping Center. Quickly after these crowds died down. Not much was heard about Chipotle for a while after until, starting some time last year, most of Harriton High School began the Chipotle-craze.

The burrito has a short history. They begin back in the day, when all food was grown naturally and the animals used for burritos were not fed harmful hormones, and as a result were presumably happier with their fates. Burritos do not date back into ancient Aztec history, or any Mexican history for that matter. The creation of the first documented burrito was in 1922. In the early 1900s, Mexican diet was based mainly off of the ultimate multipurpose crop: corn. The state of Chihuahua, located in northern Mexico, had begun to utilize their newest crop, wheat. The flour tortilla was developed and local villagers began to roll their tortillas around meat and called them burritos. The name comes from burro colts, animals that are born in the Chihuahua region. Beans were raised by the Aztecs and put into burritos; rice imported from Asia was used; and cheese, sour cream, and lettuce (all originating in the Mediterranean) became ingredients in burritos. Some may believe that today it is impossible to come across a moderately priced burrito using locally raised meats and vegetables that do not contain vegetables. Think again, because Chipotle is out to prove this incorrect.

It is not uncommon to hear fellow classmates speak of their constant cravings for a burrito or even debating with a friend over whose burrito is unhealthier. Harriton junior Jasmine Jaros has a small litany over her of love of burritos. “Burritos are the perfect combination of all the foods. I am always craving them. All day, e’er day.” Regardless of Chipotle’s actual nutritional value, they do strive to feed their customers the safest food that they can possibly find. Their motto is “Chipotle: Food With Integrity.” Founder Steve Ells believes that all food served in restaurants should be prepared fresh in the restaurant. In his world, only pesticide-free vegetables and spices would be used in sauces, as opposed to sauces containing preservatives and artificial flavors. Ells seems to be one of the only fast food restaurateurs that actually strives to make this universal dream come true.

All of the meat given to customers at Chipotle comes from animals raised on family farms. This ensures that the animals were never fed antibiotics or hormones. The one glitch that Chipotle has in their all natural food system is that none of their produce is organic. Ells says that “It’s simply too expensive.” The first thought that comes to mind is that Chipotle is a multi-million dollar franchise and could shoulder the cost. However, they do deliver their products to customers at a very low price for such a complete meal.

Speaking of complete, a hefty burrito at Chipotle provides your body with plenty of protein. It cannot be said that it provides much by means of nutrition in other areas (besides sodium if you want to count that as an important aspect of your meal). The burrito wrapper alone at Chipotle contains 330 calories; your typical McDonald’s cheeseburger contains 300 calories. I am not one to speak out against the caloric value of a burrito—most of the workers at the Ardmore Chipotle and even the two local Qdoba locations would recognize me if you showed them a picture.

Like most nationwide restaurant chains, Chipotle did not have a quick start. The first Chipotle opened up in 1993, a cramped space in a Denver shopping center. It has been proclaimed by the Chipotle website as “the smallest Chipotle in the world” at only 880 square feet. Ever since they added naturally raised pork to the menu in 2000, sales increased astronomically. Chipotle now opens a new storefront nationwide every four days. They have experienced some growing pains. Before the chain was made up of more than two hundred storefronts, they did not need pay for Bell and Evans to supply their chicken breasts. Now that they are a much larger chain, they must pay. No worries: they have managed to keep prices level.

I have always enjoyed a nice burrito. When I infrequently pay a visit to good old Santa Fe Burrito, I would find myself forgetting to order some of the key components of my burrito. The ordering environment at Chipotle makes it almost impossible for you to walk past any of the burrito topping options. My advice for ordering at Chipotle? Go with a burrito bowl. You can still order a wrapper on the side and get as many toppings as you want without worrying about a burrito explosion. With food this good at such a great price, it looks like students at Harriton and across the nation will be raving about Chipotle for many years to come.