Friday, August 20, 2004

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Burrito Wars

The city is a gastrointestinal wasteland... after years of fighting what some have called the 'Great Burrito Wars of 2002', chain restaurants who boast california style whole grain cilantro chipotle chicken burritos disgrace our fine town; the original landmark of 50% health inspection passing independent burrito experts is no longer in existence.

RIP Tortillas (1984-2003)

Whenever I pass the vacant lot on ponce, a little tear rolls down my cheek. so many memories. i even remember my very first.... what a doozy. i just remember the first words of advice were: dont order any beef here. from then on, chicken burrito light light beans extra rice extra cheese was a staple in my sunday-hangover/crappy-ray-food/any-excuse-to-get-full one stop shop for burritos. whether you opted for the green or the red sauce was entirely your right... as long as you drowned it in whatever choice you made. for $5 you could get a huge burrito, a drink, and chips that would make Emeril Lagasse drool. if you were new in town, you were inducted maybe 2-3 times before you had the chance to say 'dude, lets do something other than torts tonight.' if you came back to visit atl, usually you were carting 4 or 5 with you on the plane ride home.
(article 1 article 2 article 3)

So, with the absolute best out of the market, what caused this whole war? who were the other parties involved in the demise of torts? what can replace torts, if anything?

in order to answer these investigative questions, we turn to the bastard burrito-spawn of satan... the first chain restaurant to flood the atlanta market and really fuck things up for people who didnt even realize they were being proper fucked. Willy's. Willy's burst into the scene like a blitzkreig, opening up shop in hot spots all over intown and OTP. Of course with a .3 mile journey to willys vs. 2.2, freshmen turned to the wrong 'hand that feeds them' and made willy's a huge success. the rice is mid grade. the salsa is low grade. extras cost way extra. and entrees cost 20% more. the only authentic thing about willy's was that a ton of mexican people work there. there are now 14 willy's in the metro atl area.... and i boycott every one.

trust me, it looks a lot better there than it tastes in real life. unfortunately, willy's was not the nail in the coffin for Tort's. A bigger, more expansive, and far more obnoxious chain saw the success of willy's and decided to get a piece of the action. Welcome to Moe's!! fucking cheeseballs... who's loco idea was it to have the staff say that to every single person who walks in the door? i feel like punching some of these bitches when i roll in there. moe's was definitely a better alternative to willy's, the fucking scum of burrito chains. but it still lacked the fulfilling and tasty part of the burrito business that tortillas had perfected. the meat is better and healthier, but the inside of the restaurant makes me want to hit myself over the head with a tack hammer many times.

The runner-up for best replacement for Torts probably goes to Chipotle. Now I know its run by the dodgiest fast food chain mc d's, but chipotle is a pretty damn good burrito. the key is to hire semi-attractive mexican cashiers while also providing many different styles of sauce. their hot sauce is among the best red sauce in town. the problem here is that they just copycat the other two schwag chains... steaming burritos is crap compared to throwing them on the grill and getting them piping hot and slightly crispy. also, who charges for chips in the burrito wars? fucking LAME!

Hands down the best alternative burrito joint is Qdoba. Heaping portions of meat. Legitimate mexican workers. Good red sauce. Good chips. Good locale. If i never knew of the existence of Torts, this place would probably be my burrito to compare all other burritos to. As it stands, this one is the closest thing i can find to true torts style.


If you are looking for better independent stores, here are the best:
- Burrito Art - more expensive but they do burritos very well
- Raging Burrito - huge menu, pretty good price, overall good alternate
- El Myr - best resemblance to torts; also suffering from chain burrito war

Check out this 'Best Of' list for atlanta.... blasphemy!

So in summary: fuck you. fuck you. fuck you. youre cool. and fuck you!..... i'm out.


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