Chipotle vs. Moe’s: The Magnolia Street Burrito Showdown

Two goods are substitutes when the price of one increases and demand for the other increases. This phenomenon unfolds every week for me–the two goods being  burritos from Moe’s and Chipotle.

Every Monday, Moe’s offers a great deal on their burritos, conveniently called the “Moe Monday” deal. All burritos, from the Jr. Joey Bag of Donuts to the colossal Homewrecker, are $5.75, no matter the meat. This deal is hard to beat and hard to pass up.

Chipotle has no such deal.

And so, every week, substitution effects inexorably infiltrate my preferences, increasing my demand for Moe’s on Mondays–only on Mondays.

This is a bigger deal than it sounds, because I was for a long time a strict Chipotle apostle and evangelizer. Classmates wouldn’t even bother asking me where I wanted to go to lunch, in the same way you wouldn’t ask somebody wearing a clerical collar where they go to church, or invite somebody wearing a yarmulka over for a pork butt BBQ.

Over time, though, and because of the Moe Monday deal, Moe’s has grown on me. It’s a tex-mexistential crisis.

Let’s weigh the pros and cons for both.

  • Chipotle’s guacamole is the best–no exaggeration. It’s the best guacamole I’ve ever had. Moe’s’ guacamole was just a green paste, but they’ve redone their recipe. It’s not the best, but it is good. Chipotle wins the guacamole game.
  • Moe’s includes chips and a great salsa bar with their meals. The Who is Kaiser? and tomatillo salsas are my favorite. The Pineapple Cucumber salsa is surprisingly good, too, when they have it. Chipotle’s chips are an extra charge (on top of their already more expensive menu) and are just sitting behind the register in brown bags at room temperature. Moe’s is the chips and salsa champion.
  • Chipotle’s grilled veggies are fresh and flavorful. Moe’s’ veggies are less so, and sit in watery juices so they’re on the soggy side. I declare Chipotle’s veggies victorious.
  • As mentioned before, the Moe Monday deal is fantastic. At Chipotle, you have to work hard to keep your lunch bill under $10. It often means making trade-offs like no meat in exchange for the guacamole, or no guacamole in exchange for the chips or a drink, etc. Moe’s wins the price prize.
  • Chipotle raised the bar for the quality of their ingredients, and Moe’s has conformed to the new standard. Both have responsibly raised, hormone-free, and antibiotic-free meats (or do their best to have them). The steak comes from grass-fed cows (!). The guacamole is made fresh at both locations. I’d say Chipotle has higher quality ingredients when all are considered, but Moe’s is catching up. Chipotle is the narrow innards winner. Say that five times fast.

In conclusion, I have no conclusion. If it’s Monday and you’re hankering for a burrito, give Moe’s a try. On other days, Chipotle may be the better choice.

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