I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. Seeing as April Vacation is just around the corner and Anime Boston a month later, I figure I start with the first of many comparisons between local eateries and restaurants up against their chain equivelants. I will also make a page sometime tomorrow–which also happens to be my birthday–aptly titled Local vs. Chain Food.
Now let’s get to today’s face-offs. We will look at three pairs of restaurants. I have eaten at ALL of them at some point or another, which will be the case with all future editions of Local vs. Chain Food.
It is interesting to note both are actually local restaurant chains. Both also specialize in burritos and they both do it well. The difference maker for me with the compare and contrast of both chains is the portions to pricing ratio.
The clear winner is Chipotle Mexican Grill.
Here’s what both local chains offer:
- All-Natural Fresh Ingredients locally purchased.
- All food is cooked to order.
- Vegetarian and Dietary Alternatives to signature items
- Use recycled materials for all paper and plastic products used.
- Chic dining area and free wifi.
- Their counterpart is within a few blocks from each other in the Back Bay and Downtown Areas of Boston.
The interesting thing about Boloco is they offer burritos in three sizes: Small, Medium and Large. Ditto for their smoothies. Chipotle, on the other hand has just one size for all. The difference–and this might or might not be a big deal to some of you–is Chipotle’s is more filling than a Large burrito from Boloco. One burrito from Chipotle and you’re prettymuch set for the day. With Boloco you’d need at least two Medium burritos to have that same satisfaction.
Let me go back to the cost comparison now. A Large burrito from Boloco with a smoothie would come out to around $13 (factoring MA Meal tax in that number). In comparison, a Chiptole burrito on average is $7 and you can add a drink to that for an additional $2.15, which brings the total to $10 (I rounded up to factor meal tax). On top of that, if you eat in you get free refills on drinks. Mind you, a Chipotle burrito is the equivalent of two Medium from Boloco.
Why pay more for less? The caviat is regardless of which one you prefer you’re getting good food and supporting the local economy. Even so, Chipotle Mexican Grill gets my support.
You’re not seeing things: B.Good vs. McDonald’s, Burger King AND Wendy’s. The founders famously threw down the gauntlet on The Phantom Gourmet in 2004, offering to pit their fries against “America’s Favorite Fries” (McDonald’s). No Introduction is necessary for Micky-D’s, BK and The W. Combined, they’re in every country on earth and every major city in North America. They are the undisputed Fast Food Kings of the industry no question.
Even so, there are just so many better, healthier AND affordable options out there. Case in point: B.Good.
Let’s review the facts about B.Good:
- ALL Ingredients grown or purchased from local farms.
- ALL Ingredients are organic.
- All nine locations have an open kitchen, allowing you to watch the chefs prepare the food in front of you.
- All burgers and sandwiches are cooked to order and served within ten minutes.
- All burgers are customizable from the type of meat (or no meat) to the type of bun (or no bun).
- EVERY serving of fries and sweet potato fries is made with fresh potatoes or sweet potatoes.
- The shakes are actually good for you (!)
- Nine lucky souls eat free for life at each of their nine locations for sharing their love of the B.Good Menu.
There are a number of ways one can get free food for a year or for life. See that link above to see how nearly two dozen people have done it. The clear difference between B.Good and the Big Three is not just in its menu. It’s the fact that you know you’re doing business with a company that loves to give back. This was word of mouth when I first heard about it but the Dartmouth Street location gives City Year members and Alumni a 20% discount off your order (must be wearing your City Year Jacket to get the discount). That’s awesome, but what’s even cooler for City Year Members is if you got lucky and a certain from the company was feeling generous the meal’s on them. For various reasons I’m not saying who it is though I’m sure some of you know this person.
Anyway the clear and obvious winner is of course B.Good.
The thing is you know the food you’re putting in your mouth was just made from the freshest available ingredients. While yes a burger with fries and a shake is $10 it’s worth every cent. You can taste every ingredient and as I mentioned above, you can chose between Beef, Chicken, Turkey or Vegetarian patties (all four hand-made and grilled) for ALL of their signature dishes. For example I always get the Buffalo Burger with Chicken. It’s like eating Buffalo Wings without the bones.
I want to stress my opinion that B.Good’s fries easily outshines Mickey-D’s. Once you try it you won’t be able to stop with one. To top it off they make Sweet Potato Fries. What’s it taste like? You’ll have to try it to believe it.
I’m not going to lie: This was a tough one to make. Both brands know their stuff.
Even so, if you want to eat like a local ALWAYS go with J.P. Licks. In case you’re wondering J.P. is short for Jamaica Plain, which is where the Boston-based ice cream store got its start. It has opened up in a few more locations around Boston but the trek to the original is well worth it for the experience.
Hands-down this matchup goes to J.P. Licks.
Coldstone is great in that each store operates like it’s been in the neighborhood for years. JP Licks just has the home team advantage is all.
…Whew, that was awesomely fun writing about those restaurants. I’m going to try to do this kind of thing once or twice a month. I plan to do a decient article in time for Anime Boston so look forward to it!