By. Adam Bankhurst
Back in 1993, when a young Steve Ells had a dream to create a burrito with integrity, I find it hard to believe he knew what an impact his creation would have on the world.
More specifically, my world.
I feel comfortable saying, without a shadow of a doubt, I am one of Chipotle’s biggest fans and supporters.
I don’t say this lightly either.
I have lived and breathed this Mexican masterpiece ever since my first enlightening experience back in 2004. I vividly remember hearing murmurs and rumors of this new burrito and taco place that everyone was raving about. For whatever reason, I pictured a high-class, sit-down Mexican restaurant. Even from my first introduction, I already held it to a high standard.
When I first walked in to my first Chipotle in Cleveland, OH, I was blown away. My first meal was three chicken tacos, and from there on, I knew I’d found love.
Here’s the thing about my love and obsession though, it goes far beyond a simple taco or burrito. It is the culture and the atmosphere that walks hand in hand with the “food with integrity” that sets it above all else.
In my many years as a connoisseur of all things Chipotle, I have tried all they have to offer, and some many years ago I settled on my go-to meal:
Brown rice, black beans, chicken, pico de gallo, corn and hot salsa, sour cream, cheese, and lettuce.
Oh, and I can’t forget the chips and hot salsa.
It is a meal I have multiple times a week and the formula for success has not changed for a very long time. This is a staple of my life, a constant that is always there for me no matter the circumstances that swirl my life.
Chipotle has become a place of solace and peace. Working all day, knowing half-way through I have 30-minutes of burrito bliss keeps my mind at ease. Meeting my dear friend of many years to catch up on life’s happenings keeps me smiling. Celebrating with a (mostly) given-up Dr. Pepper after a victory or even an unfortunate loss, Chipotle is always there.
It goes beyond but a simple restaurant, for it has become a defining factor of who I am. I know this my sound dramatic and overblown, but it is the truth. I thank Chipotle for being a place I can come back to, day after day, and always feel welcome.
What is it about this place that never gets old? I often try to discern exactly what that is. Maybe it’s their passion and determination to only serve naturally raised meats and teach the world that fast food doesn’t have to be “fast food.” Maybe the rice and hot salsa have been engrained into my DNA from overexposure. I truly have no idea.
All I know is that we all have those places that mean the world to us, and Chipotle is one of those for me.
So, Steve Ells, even though I’ve never met you, I have one thing to say to you;
Thank you for dreaming big. Thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone and putting everything on the line to, as Apple would say, “Think Different.” Life is all about these risks and rewards, and the spoils go to those who aren’t afraid to seize them.
Live life to its fullest, open your heart, and may all of you find, as I have, your Chipotle.