The continual and rapid growth of South Mississippi has further opened up an already rich dining scene on the Coast.
The region has seen over 40 restaurants open this year alone, with more on the way. With so many options to choose from these days, it can be a bit tough to settle on one restaurant for dinner.
That’s especially true if you or a loved one is down for a fat burrito and you can’t agree on which fine establishment to trust with making your fat burrito. That’s where we come in.
I risked life and limb on Wednesday to eat at both Qdoba and the just-opened Chipotle, while also relying on my years of experience as a Moe’s Southwestern die-hard fan, to bring you the guide and comparison on the trio of quick-stop burrito joints.
Here is a rundown on the menu, costs and food experience at Qdoba, Chipotle and Moe’s.
Moe’s Southwestern Grill
It’s a bit tougher to draw a direct comparison between Moe’s and the others than it is to compare Chipotle and Qdoba since Moe’s sits in a slightly different lane.
(Welcome to) Moe’s leans into the Southwestern cuisine more than the others, which offer a more Mexican-style menu.
The Moe’s menu is also very simple: burritos, bowls, quesadillas and nachos. There are a few prefab options, but the restaurant pushes creativity with its signature homewrecker burrito and bowl.
The proteins are simple, as well, offering steak, chicken, adobo chicken, ground beef, tofu and veggie. The prize of the menu here, of course, is the queso.
Qdoba is quickly growing in popularity for its burritos and specialty items. It even hosted the first World Burrito Eating Championship in Milwaukee this year. That event was won by food-stuffing superstar Joey Chestnut, who ate 14 Qdoba burritos in 10 minutes.
If you don’t think that’s a lot, I implore you to grab a Qdoba burrito at your earliest convenience. The sheer size of those bad boys puts Moe’s and Chipotle to shame.
Qdoba’s advantage within its niche is the expansive menu. Like the burritos, it’s wide. Featured items include the surf & turf bowl, mango chicken or shrimp bowls and philly cheesesteak quesadillas.
They also have not one, but two different queso dips to choose from: three cheese and diablo. Qdoba offers what is probably the most authentic Mexican menu of the group in terms of options on the table.
When it comes to name-brand recognition, Chipotle sits on top of its niche. It has over 3,000 locations and had its grand-opening in South Mississippi on Wednesday.
Its popularity has been made possible by the incredibly simple, yet unique menu. Chipotle is largely a build-your-own burrito joint similar to Moe’s and unlike Qdoba.
The separating factor is what it offers inside the tortilla. Instead of just chicken and steak, your protein options also include chicken al pastor, barbacoa, sofritas and carnitas.
You can also add roasted chili-corn salsa as one of the 10 other non-rice/beans add-ons.
Chipotle also offers bowls, salads and tacos.
Moe’s Southwestern Grill
Just as with its menu, the pricing at Moe’s is pretty simple. The base burritos range from $9.99 to $10.99, depending on the protein.
Most every item varies between the $9 to $13 price range. To make an item a meal, though, you’ll have to tack on an extra $4.99.
Moe’s includes guacamole at no extra charge on select items, but it’s $1.99 on items like the quesadillas.
A homewrecker, drink and side of queso will run you right at $16. If you have a family of four to feed, the homewrecker, edgy veggie bowl and a couple of Moo Moo Mr. Cow’s comes out to $43.
Qdoba’s calling card is that the guacamole and queso are always free when you want it added to an entree item. The same can’t always be said for Moe’s and it can never be said for Chipotle.
The pricing at Qdoba has a bit wider of a range than Moe’s, but that’s partly thanks to the myriad of options the restaurant provides.
The burritos go from $9.95 to $13.85 and most every option falls within the $8 to $14 range. A Cholula Hot & Sweet Chicken Burrito with a drink and side of chips and queso will cost you $14.80.
For a family, the same burrito meal plus a mango chicken bowl and a couple of quesadilla kids meals with total up to $39.
Chipotle’s menu is where you have to pay attention a little bit more. While the interior options are wider than the others, the cost can quickly get away from you.
Chipotle’s cost ceiling for a single build-your-own burrito is the highest among the group.
One chicken burrito with guacamole and a side of chips and queso and a drink will cost you $16.65. It’s important to note Chipotle also has the most unique offering of beverages, but these will run your totals up more, as well.
That same burrito meal, plus a wholesome bowl and a couple kids meals comes out to $39. This particular order shaves down to Qdoba’s pricing thanks to Chipotle having, by far, the cheapest kids meal options.
Moe’s Southwestern Grill
Having been here plenty of times, I can’t knock anything this establishment produces. Even if the order is wrong, it’s still somehow right.
Moe’s was one of only a couple restaurants that survived every year I spent in college (which is saying something) and I quickly gravitated toward its overstuffed burritos as my comfort place in between exams that I spent absolutely zero time studying for.
Memories may be clouding my objectivity here, but Moe’s is a staple for me and hard to pass up if offered.
I have yet to successfully down an entire Qdoba burrito. How Joey Chestnut gobbled up 14 of them I truly have no idea.
That’s why my most recent trip resulted in the purchase of the mango shrimp bowl. It was light, yet filling and very tasteful. It’s a quick option that you won’t find anywhere else that has a drive-thru window, and for that I give it props.
I had actually never eaten Chipotle before I was bestowed the imperative quest to do just that this week. Despite its popularity, I had pretty much only heard some fairly underwhelming things about the restaurant.
I’m never one to value the opinion of others on such things (character flaw), so I dove right in. I got the chicken al pastor burrito and the organic lemonade.
The burrito lacked nothing in the plumpness department and I was pleased the chicken carried some kick with it. The glass bottle lemonade was also a nice touch. Despite what society tells me, I think I’ll head back for seconds sometime soon.