Columbia Heights Chipotle holds "invite only" mock service

Holy shit world, stop your presses. A new fast food chain restaurant is opening in Columbia Heights. That's right, since the neighborhood is so starved for food options, this is apparently some kind of huge event. So big, in fact, the fast food joint had an invite-only mock service the other night. Some big names where present, including Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser! Gasp!

Seriously? A special preview night for the latest outpost of a national fast food chain? I can understand when a brand new real restaurant wants to have a preview night--it helps train the staff and get the word out about the menu, decor, etc. But a Chipotle is a Chipotle. If you have questions or wonder what a Chipotle is, you can visit the other locations in the District of Columbia. It's nothing special. It's a fast food restaurant. They have tacos and burritos. They put things in tin foil. If you're super curious and lazy, hop on the Circulator and go to the Chipotle in Woodley Park (it's not that far, really, maybe 6 minutes on the bus!).

Now I have to wonder, did Panda Express at DCUSA have a special preview night? I don't remember seeing anything about that. But their Orange Chicken is filled with crack or something, because I could eat that every night for the rest of my life. Oh, and that big soda cup with the panda on it, I love me some of that. It's cute and filled with delicious beverage. And it's all cheaper than Chipotle!

I guess this is where social media jumps the shark, we've got bloggers promoting new fast food restaurants, and city officials coming out to mark the occasion. Maybe if they renovate one of the gas stations on 14th Street, they'll do a mock service for special folk. Jim Graham can fill up his New Beetle and then fire the ceremonial first shotgun blast at the cashier's bulletproof glass. Oh, and just wait until the IHOP opens! Someone will tweet about how some dude named Ernesto botched their preview-night order of the Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity. "I'll bet he's a member of MS-13, too," it will say.

When will the world stop going crazy? Is Columbia Heights so bad that the opening of a chain restaurant warrants this much attention? Furthermore, why aren't the Councilmembers boycotting and making a stink that this will hurt local businesses? Columbia Heights/Mt. Pleasant/Adams Morgan has a large number of locally owned and operated Mexican and Latin American restaurants. Jim Graham, how can you stand for this?

In any event, I'm not anti-Chipotle, I just don't understand all the hype. I think I had enough Chipotle to last a lifetime back in 2004. Today, this just seems a bit... pathetic.


  1. Its pretty typical for a new restaurant or store to have a preview night, or a dry run, regardless to work out any problems before the official grand opening. I will agree its odd though to have an invite only dry run though. There shouldn't be so much hype about it Chipotle. But I'll bet they're probably open to the general public now, to prepare for grand opening.

  2. It just smacked of the over-revved DC hype machine.

  3. oh I agree. I guess Target + Chipotle + Columbia Heights = Cleveland Park. Or least thats what they want you to think

  4. Or you can just fight through the Gallery Place Metro Stop and the line of 133 people to experience Chipotle. By then, you'll need the relatively cheap $3 beer.

    I think tomorrow is the real grand opening. I got an email about it but can't be bothered to find it and verify the date.

  5. These were some of my exact thoughts. Why are we so excited about another marginal chain restaurant? Oh yeah, I'm not.

  6. Hate to burst your bubble but Chipotle is always this full of itself. We just had one open near our house in suburban VA and they threw themselves a huge party. Another one in Reston Town Center just moved a few doors down and they are having a big party complete with press releases to celebrate.

  7. I agree the blogger coverage was over the top, but the "preview night" was actually for the people who live in the building where Chipotle is, to thank them for putting up with their construction for many months. That doesn't seem overly pretentious. As for DC councilmembers showing up, they'll show up anywhere there's a crowd and they can remind their constituents that they exist.

  8. Alex, you stole the words right out of my mouth (or hands, as it were). It did seem like a bit much, but chipotle has been making a godawful mess out of CH since, like, September.

    M@, yes, it's true, you really can say anything you want on the internet. But that doesn't mean you should. Congrats on your 12th birthday, but I don't know if you can handle t3h interwebs just yet. Consider asking your parents to put the parental controls back on so you don't make an ass out of yourself anymore, RTFM, and come back when you're ready.

  9. As Alex has stated, there was a specific reason behind this "preview night" to thank the residents for putting up with the construction.

    And as MB has stated, these things happen in other places, not just DC or Columbia Heights.

    Once again, this dispicable blog is an exercise in the concept of "confirmation bias."

    And ex-blogger M@'s post is indictative of the kinds of people that this blog was alway's attracted.

  10. Chipotle is horrible. 1 burrito has more than the daily recommonded amount of sodium, 2500mg. It is the worst job I ever had. I hate them with passion, almost as muchas the fake passion they have for their shitty food