The great mexican grill debate

Qdoba and Chipotle go head-to-head in the battle of the century


Haley Shock, Editor-in-Chief

New Albany is an ever-developing town, with the thriving downtown area hosting a multitude of small businesses owned by fellow New Albanians. But today, the new business I’m focused on is: Chipotle and its ongoing fight against Qdoba.

New Albany has two Qdoba locations, both of which are popular among local food enjoyers, but now, the westerners have migrated east, and now we have a new self-proclaimed “Mexican Grill” in town, and they’re not coming to play.

I have patronized Qdoba many times, I always get a custom bowl with slightly varying toppings and the flavors and quality of toppings can be pretty inconsistent. Seeing as I’ve never been to Chipotle before though, I will exclusively focus on my most recent experience there to attempt to even the scoreboard.


I went to the location on Charlestown Rd. and placed an online pick up order to pick up almost two hours after ordering. When I arrived five minutes after the designated pick-up time my order was not ready. In fact, after asking the employee for an update, they pulled the receipt for my order out from under a stack of tortillas and lettuce, which I thought was goofy. It only took two minutes for them to get my order to me and I was on my way. 

Now, I was pretty disappointed with my meal because while it was warm and had decent portion sizes, it was missing two of my toppings. I didn’t get any sour cream or fajita vegetables. The food was still good without these two toppings, but I definitely would have preferred all of my toppings. 

Their adobo chicken is delicious and always enjoyable. Their three cheese queso is also yummy but could be more flavorful. They’re portions of toppings were less than desirable at this visit which was disappointing but I overall enjoyed the meal. 

A customized bowl is $9.65 before tax, which is just the price for a bowl with your protein. None of the other items have an additional charge, which I very much appreciate. Overall, I’d say the price was reasonable.


Now onto the famous Chipotle. It is an internet sensation and mostly popular in the western states. Now as many of us know, the west coast can be quite a bit more expensive than our Midwestern prices, but with that being said the quality could possibly live up to the price difference.

A bowl at Chipotle is $9.10 before tax for just a bowl with protein and certain additions, but many additions have an extra charge, such as queso and guacamole. After all of my additions my bowl was $14.28. Unfortunately I forgot my scale at home for this trip so I wasn’t able to weigh it or the Qdoba bowl out to compare price per ounce but I do know that they were about the same size so now it comes down to quality and price.

I went into this with high expectations for this meal. Unfortunately, they were not met. There were many mediocre parts to this meal. The chicken was bland, beans were bland, queso wasn’t queso-y enough, and the drink machine wasn’t operational, so that was a downer. The best thing about his experience though was the scoop size of the guacamole, it was definitely worth the extra charge. The generosity of the guac made my heart happy, but guac can’t make up for the lack of flavor in the rest of the meal. 

The ingredients did feel fresher than Qdoba, that may be due to the location being very new. The environment was also brighter and cleaner which made it feel like I was making good eating choices, which was definitely nice. Despite the environment and the guacamole, I still can’t get over the blandness of the rest of the food.

Final Decision

In the end, the winner of the Great Mexican Grill Restaurant debate is… Qdoba. The price is better, the flavor is better, and while the ingredients didn’t feel as fresh and they didn’t add a couple of my toppings, it was still the best option and therefore, the winner winner, chicken dinner.