America's Favorite Mexican Food Chain Is...

by Michelle Regalado

Chipotle has established itself as a favorite in the world of casual Mexican food dining, but apparently, there’s still one other chain out there that’s giving it a serious run for its money. In a recent Consumer Report survey of America’s best and worst foods, customers ranked Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill as the top-rated Mexican food chain above Chipotle.

The magazine polled more than 32,400 subscribers who ranked 65 restaurants during 96,000 dining experiences across the country. Rubio's, which actually precedes Chipotle by about a decade, scored a customer rating of 84. If you’ve never heard of the grill, there’s a good reason. Chipotle, a younger company, has pretty much gone on to take over the nation, but Rubio’s has remained largely a regional favorite with only around 190 locations in California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Utah.

So how exactly did it manage to overtake the juggernaut of Chipotle in the ranking? Per SeattlePi, the chain is especially known for its fish tacos. The dish is actually what inspired founder Ralph Rubio to open his first restaurant and has continued to remain popular among customers. Plus, this isn’t the only distinction the chain has gotten this year. It also beat out all other Mexican restaurants in Consumer Report's list of chains offering the healthiest dining options.

But don’t worry too much about Chipotle — customers clearly still have a lot of love for their customizable burrito bowl. The Mexican grill came in at the No. 2 spot, with a customer rating of 83.

The list also proved that customers prefer fresh ingredients over lower-quality fast food fare, with chains like Taco John’s and Taco Bell coming in last. Here’s the list in its entirety:

Restaurant Customer Ratings

  1. Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill, 84
  2. Chipotle Mexican Grill, 83
  3. Qdoba Mexican Grill, 81
  4. Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, 80
  5. Moe’s Southwest Grill, 78
  6. Del Taco, 78
  7. Taco John’s, 75
  8. Taco Bell, 73

Image: Giphy