When you get that craving for Mexican style grill where do you go?  Which one is your favorite?  Most of the time there are a couple of options to choose from.  Students at Saint Joe’s are fortunate to be fairly close to Chipotle, Qdoba, and Moe’s.  We know you’ve had this endless dispute before with your friends and roommates, but which joint actually reigns supreme?  We visited all three restaurant chains this week to help settle the debate!

However if you are in the mood for something local and want to support some authentic small business, check out our other article “SpecTACOlar Taco Spots in Manayunk   “ giving you the best Mexican food in Manayunk

Chipotle

Chipotle located in Haverford township, photo taken by Tim Galuchie.

Beginning with Chipotle, the Mexican grill that seems to be at the top of mind for almost anyone.  What a lot of people don’t know if that Chipotle was around in the 90s, but not really known for what they are today.  It wasn’t until McDonald’s Corporation became a major investor back in 1998, which made them able to expand into over 500 locations in 2006.  Chipotle is regarded as the leader in their industry with their short wait times, great customer service, and delicious food.  However due to COVID, things are being run a little bit differently for the chain. Most Chipotle’s are not allowing customers to order inside and dine-in.  Customers are required to order through the Chipotle App, which can sometimes be a burden due to incorrect orders and wait times.  This also means that no internet equals no Chipotle.

Qdoba

Qdoba in Lower Merion, photo taken by Tim Galuchie.

There are a few things that really make Qdoba stand out among the rest.  If you love to load up your burrito to the max, Qdoba has you covered.  There is no additional charge to add guacamole or queso to whatever you are ordering.  That actually ends up saving you an extra $3-$4 in the end.  Qdoba provided the fastest customer service and you have the option to order on their app if you want to.  Unlike Chipotle, their quesadilla is actually on the menu, so the employee isn’t going to roll their eyes at you when you order one.  Qdoba looks good on paper but how does its taste hold up against the rest? 

Moe’s

Moe’s in Haverford township, photo taken by Tim Galuchie.

What’s not to like about stepping foot inside and being greeted by the famous punchline “Welcome to Moe’s!”  Moe’s will typically have very friendly employees and a good atmosphere.  You can still walk in and order and even sit down to eat.  They also provide free chips with every meal and you can take as much salsa as you like! What’s there not to love about that?

Rankings

We ordered the same three menu items from each restaurant in order to discover whose dish tasted the best. The items included a steak burrito, a chicken quesadilla, chicken tacos, and guacamole.  There were four blind taste testers who were asked to rank each item from best (3) to worst (1).  The scores were calculated and averaged out to determine which restaurant made the best item.

 Burrito:

Chipotle = 3

Qdoba = 1.25

Moe’s = 1.75

This one wasn’t even close. Chipotle, by far, had the best tasting burrito out of the three.  Each burrito consisted of the same ingredients (rice, beans, steak, cheese, and pico de gallo).  The flavor of the steak was much better than the other two.

Tacos:

Chipotle = 1.67

Qdoba = 2

Moe’s = 2.33

The best place to get your tacos proved to be Moe’s.  This was a much closer call than the results for the burrito. However, the shells did end up becoming a little soggy because they were consumed over an hour after being purchased. Our take is that if you eat them fresh they will blow the others away.  The ingredients included chicken, cheese, lettuce, and pico de gallo.  

Quesadilla:

Chipotle = 1.25

Qdoba = 3

Moe’s = 1.75

Qdoba stole the show when it came to their quesadilla.  The quesadillas only contained chicken and cheese, but there was something about Qdoba that made it so much superior to the others.  The size was much bigger than the Chipotle and Moe’s and the overall flavor was very good.  However, if you want the best-looking presentation, we would recommend the Chipotle quesadilla.  

Guacamole:

Chipotle = 2.5

Qdoba = 1.5

Moe’s = 2

No wonder Qdoba’s guacamole is free, it’s not even that good.  Chipotle and Moe’s was a much closer call.  Moe’s guacamole has a lot of flavors going on, but if you want the perfect blend of rich avocado and saltiness, Chipotle is the best option. 

Results

To sum everything up, if a burrito is what you really want, you are best off going to Chipotle.  If tacos are what you are craving, you need to try out Moe’s, and Qdoba has the superior quesadilla among the rest.  The guacamole is where we think it’s going to come down to personal preference the most, but you’re not going to go wrong with Chipotle’s guacamole.  It’s nice to see that each Mexican Grill excelled in at least one aspect.  There is something that each one does a little better than the other.  Now to really sum it up, adding up each average crowns Chipotle as the best Mexican Grill with a score of 8.42 out of 12, followed by Moe’s (7.83), then Qdoba (7.75).  And if price is something that is going to make or break which restaurant you are going to choose, don’t worry about it.  The total was no less than $27 and no greater than $28 for the three items at each restaurant.  It is your turn now.  Head out to your local Chipotle, Qdoba, and Moe’s to see which is the best to you.