The Great Chipotle Shut Down of 2016 is finally upon us, folks, and you know what that means — Chipotle is closed today, Feb. 8 until 3 p.m. in each local time zone. Why have the burrito gods forsaken us so? Don't worry — the closure is only temporary while members of the company meet to discuss the chain's recent food trials and tribulations. An estimated 50,000 employees are attending these meetings all over the county to go over new food safety procedures; executives will also answer employees' questions, as well as discuss the launch of a new PR campaign to help the company bounce back from from its health scares.
In case you're not totally caught up with the news, from October 2015 through to the very recent past (by which I mean last week), the chain was investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in connection with two outbreaks of E. coli-related illnesses. In the first outbreak, 55 people were infected in 11 states; in the second, five people from three states were affected. The good news, though, is that as of Monday, Feb. 1, the CDC has cleared Chipotle, allowing us all to partake in the glory of burritos, tacos, and other fast casual favorites once more.
...As long as you're not trying to get that burrito fix today before 3 p.m. Are you one of the people caught off guard by the closing? Here are five other places you can get your Tex Mex fill at while you're waiting for Chipotle to reopen this afternoon.
If you're craving a delicious burrito, head to Qdoba, where you can find burritos, tacos, quesadillas, nachos, taco salad, and tortilla soup. Some die-hard Chipotle fans don't go near Qdoba, since the two companies are in direct competition with one another, but sometimes, the urge for a burrito is much stronger than brand loyalty.
2. Baja Fresh
In my opinion, this Mexican grill has some of the best Mexican fast food around. You can find this California-based company in 29 states plus Singapore and Dubai, so chances are you'll be able to find one in your area. If you like spicy food, I would recommend the Diablo Burrito.
3. Taco Bell
If you don't want to get out of your car for a burrito, head to Taco Bell for one of many of their burrito-esque extravaganzas. The Quesalupa was finally unveiled as the chain's newest item, so go check it out.
4. Moe's Southwest Grill
If you want giant portions, head to Moe's Southwest Grill, where you can find burritos stuffed to the brim with the yummiest ingredients possible (and they have some clever names, too). Beware, though, because Moe's might convert you from a Chipotle lover to a Moe's enthusiast.
5. Chevvy's Fresh Mex
If you're looking for sit-down burritos, try Chevvy's. The restaurant has over 100 locations in the United States and you can get a burrito and a margarita for a pretty reasonable price.
Good luck, burrito lovers. May the burrito force be with you until Chipotle reopens at 3 p.m. today.
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