The old saying the grass is always greener on the other side gets an upgrade when applying it to my 15 year long relationship with Chipotle burritos.
The first time I had one of these tasty treasures was in Colorado. I was on a spur of the moment road trip with my buddy. We were on our way to a concert in Denver and had come to Boulder for the day. She had previously worked at a Chipotle in Kanasas City, but I'd never even heard of it. As a picky eater, I was reluctant to even enter the building. This particular restaurant was located in a charming part of town with sidewalks and shop-lined streets. I saw the snake of hungry customers outside of the door and through the glass windows. If so many people were willing to wait, it must be great. I agreed to give it a shot. I ordered a steak burrito with spicy salsa and a tasty beverage. The manager stood at the register and flipped a coin for each customer. I called tails, as is customary for me, and just like that, my lunch was on the house. Maybe it was the fact that it was free. Maybe it was the Colorado altitude. Maybe it really just was the tastiest burrito I'd ever eaten in my life. Whatever it was, I was hooked like a gambling addict after her first jackpot.
At this time, Joplin didn't have a Chipotle, so I had to get my fix out of town. Whenever I traveled, wherever I traveled, I'd find the closest Chipotle and devour a spicy burrito. This wasn't a problem when I was single, but after my husband came along, it caused some issues. He wasn't a fan of the silver foil wrapped burritos, and was quite annoyed when I'd obsessively search a metropolis for a Chipotle. When we discovered Springfield had not one, but TWO locations, we began making the occasional quick trip east to satisfy my craving.
I emailed Chipotle a few times to beg them to build here in Joplin. I did receive a lovely reply thanking me for my enthusiasm but ensuring me a Joplin location was not in their future. The mother of my friend looked into opening one here, but found the franchise fees to be rather exorbitant for southwest Missouri. I accepted my long distance relationship and gave up hope for any local reunion.
To my surprise, Chipotle did open a Joplin location. It has been there for over two years, and I'm ready to confess that I've eaten there fewer than 10 times. It may be closer to five. It just doesn't taste great any more. I no longer slam on the brakes when travels take me near a Chipotle. I never drive farther than a few miles to get it. The wrapper has lost its luster. I guess the foil is always shinier on the other side.