Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Meaning of Lettuce, or Lack Thereof

So, is there a larger message in the fact that our new Chipotle was out of lettuce this morning when I went to get my chicken burrito? I think so. I think congratulations are in order to our fellow Forest Hillers and other Queens residents who have apparently done the near impossible: surprised even a major restaurant chain with their demand for its tasty burritos and other fixens.

Now, either I'm wrong and it's just an insignificant foul-up, or there is bigger meaning in the fact that Chipotle, with all its systems and forecasting expertise, fell short in predicting how much lettuce its Forest Hills store would need come the first Saturday of its opening week.

Yes, Chipotle, I know it's hard to fathom that a New York City neighborhood in this day and age could be this desperate for your offerings, but it is true. We are not your ordinary NYC neighborhood out here in FoHi. We've been kinda neglected in the food department until very recently in our little Queens hamlet, and Chipotle, you're now experiencing that first hand. It may be a bit of a struggle for a while to keep up, but I'm sure you'll get the hang of it eventually.

And, in the meantime, if you want to ease some of the customer surge at your new FoHi location, you may want to spread the word to your food chain friends (like Shake Shack), that you need some help out here in The Hills - desperately! You need help feeding all those hungry Fohillers! Pronto!

The Forest Hills Chipotle was already filling up by 11:20 a.m. Saturday. Lines have been spilling onto Austin St. 
My first "made in Forest Hills" Chipotle burrito, about to be devoured.

70 comments:

  1. Its hard to believe this location would be super crowded. I've seen plenty of Chipotles in Manhattan which have never been this crowded.

    Nothing ever interesting goes on here and Chipotle is one of those places. In the big city you have loads of places to get food with lots of competition from the highest end fanciest restaurants to mass market chains like Chipotle and everything inbetween. A big diverse city with lots of selection and choice.

    Investing in Chipotle is probably a good idea though since the sales seem to be quite lucrative. Save those dollars you are spending at Chipotle, buy higher class food at the supermarket, and invest in Chipotle instead and you will do better. Alas if everyone listened to this commentary, then Chipotle would be empty.

    The cash registers are ringing!

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  2. Out of lettuce yet the price is still the same.

    Go to grocery store, buy chicken, lettuce and your own materials and have food for a long time.

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  3. I am sick of the people who keep dissing on Chipotle on here who I bet have ever eaten at a Chipotle. It cannot be possible to have eaten at a Chipotle and conclude that it is some garbage fast food place like a Taco Bell. Go in, take a look! The kitchen is right in front of your eyes and they are, wait for it, actually cooking the food from scratch using fresh ingredients. Nothing is prepackaged! You can see them grilling the steaks, slicing the vegies, cooking the rice, chopping the cilantro. It is quality, tasty food at a good price. I understand those who detest chains in general, and do not understand the excitement at the arrival of a chain, but even top rated restaurants now are parts of chains! And it is a big deal that we now have our very own Chipotle. I am glad this blog celebrates it; it deserves it. I just hope they hype goes down so I do not have to wait on a long, though fast moving, line to get my burrito bowl.

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  4. I never said it was a garbage place like a Taco Bell. I have been to Chipotle before, even remember when Mitt Romney a Presidential candidate was with employees at a Chipotle and made a stop there and the CEO of Chipotle is an honorable guy who has run the business quite well. It is indeed a higher class fast food mexican chain.

    Not disagreeing. But lets face it, all the fast food joints from McDonalds to Chipotle (McDonalds was a previous investor in Chipotle), Chequrers, Subway, Quiznos, Burger King, Taco Bell, White Castle, Shake Shack, and more, there are so many too numerous to name based on location with different equity or financing groups and different management teams, are really business models designed to obtain maximum wealth by selling food products to the public and then expanding locations.

    Chains like Chipotle are profitable but face it if you made your own food, it would be cheaper and healthier. These chains are essentially conduits of wealth for the business owners and management and even some employees.

    I hear Chipotle workers start out at approximately 24,000 with health benefits, and some can earn up to 99,000 by being a manager.

    Organizations like these are business and profit, ie wealth growth. But customers think it matters to them and so they build customers.

    The only interesting part of these organizations as far as I am concerned is the wealth they bring.

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    1. Your argument seems to be all over the place - what are you trying to say?

      - business models? Even mom & pop stores try to get obtain maximum wealth and expand. That pretty much covers all profit motive businesses in like...everywhere.
      - Making your own food vs. going out? I'm sure there's a conversation there, but then you follow it up that going out to eat only revolves around making money for others. I'm not sure what you're trying to imply: if you eat something that results in profit to someone else, it's a bad thing?
      - you included information on what you think Chipotle workers make and they get health insurance. Are you saying this is a good thing or bad thing?

      Sorry, don't mean to criticize, but I'm not sure where your series of ramblings was suppose to go? You do realize that even the food you make yourself is resulting in "money being made" by the cashiers, workers, supermarkets, etc.

      I can understand criticism on the healthiness of eating out, but this is the oddest tie-in to business that I've ever heard.

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    2. Chipotle pays far better wages than any of the crappy fast food joint. I knew people who worked at Chipotle and they do not try to keep them under 30 hours to avoid benefits, they get health insurance, have sick days. I bet they do better than a lot of workers at a diner. And on that note, comparing diners and chipotle is comparing apples to oranges. BTW, if you are talking about the diners in forest hills, like T-bone, they stink! Side notes- McDonalds, like any corporation, invested corporate money in a company they thought would earn them a solid return , that is all, nothing more, they never had a majority share, and they made a healthy profit. Cheaper to eat at a diner?? What are you ordering at a diner, the blue plate special. And you go ahead and buy all the ingredients, Prep all the ingredients, cook them, to save a dollar and consider yoursel above us all. Me, ill pay the extra dollar and go to Chipotle, and it will taste better than my version. And I know how to cook.

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  5. Back in the days I still remember Nathans as well.

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    1. IMHO the best food is at quality local diners, not at Chipotle. Costs more, and you give a tip but food is better and it does take more time to eat and isn't as quick but still quick enough.

      You can get bistro boxes at Starbucks too if you are on the go and need really quick food.

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  6. I agree about the people dissing on Chipotle. Most of them are probably doing it because they think it it is hip to do so. They probably secretly eat at McDonald's.

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    1. First time I've seen you without a dire prediction, FeeFee!

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  7. The should have asked McDonalds for some bags of shredded lettuce that they use for their Big Macs

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  8. Just another mass market fast food chain with jobs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fast_food_restaurants

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    1. And that's a bad thing?

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  9. Chipotle is just one firm which spread in the retail sprawl in the city and is doing quite well.

    There used to be a Wendy's in Forest Hills which Bank Of America replaced. Wendy's after the loss of Dave Thomas was never the same. The new Wendy's management team in place even touts proudly on their website they were involved with horrible firms for America which are disgusting.

    Chipotle in nutritional value isn't much better than Wendy's. It really is just another fast food place of many and fast food can be prepared many different ways, and with different types of foods.

    I've seen the gamut on the list of fast food restaurants. It is a lazy bad way to eat yet has become an american tradition. Really a profit driver that mass market americans have become addicted to.

    Other nations have much better food options.

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  10. Have never seen a neighborhood so excited for fast food the way forest hills is

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  11. I agree with you. I am not excited about Chipotle. I ate in Chipotle before but only in situations where I really wasn't shopping around to get food but was in a hurry and was convenient on the go.

    Would I go back or specifically look for one? No.

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  12. The highlight of this community right now seems to be the new Chipotle as it was packed, but customers need to come from somewhere.

    So its unclear where this crowd was previously eating lunch.

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  13. Where they were previously eating since I bet it has been getting crowded during the open hours.

    This community needs better mass transit accessibility. 71st and Continental station needs to get finished and the community needs to get cleaned up.

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  14. Central Queens is well-served by mass transportation. Many visitors to FH come by subway or bus while many drive in from surrounding densely populated areas such as Flushing, Jamaica, South Queens, Elmhurst, Corona, and Western Queens. I agree that the area needs a good cleaning. If it weren't for the Doe Fund workers in the area, imagine how mich more of a mess FH would be.

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  15. Central Queens is well served. It has access to express bus, bus, multiple subway lines, LIRR and taxi cabs, even Zip Car which was acquired by a rental car firm and the like.

    The car traffic in Forest Hills is amongst the highest in the city, wall to wall cars as measured by sensors from the Department of Transportation where you see Yellowstone and Austin Street areas as some of the highest traffic areas.

    With all the mechanisms of transit, it is a steady stream of wall to wall people.

    Was referring to the subway construction at 71st and Continental station.

    The city has been doing a lot of work fixing up the community here with multi year projects for transit which never end.

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  16. FH needs an authentic BBQ Rib joint!

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    1. Not sure what you mean by "authentic" here in New York City, not like we're deep in the heart of Texas or anything. I always like Santa Fe's ribs, and I even don't mind Dallas BBQ which delivers to most of Forest Hills. Also, I've heard that this is coming into the old Staples location on 71st/Continental. Not ribs, but tangy chicken wings and other stuff: http://www.buffalowildwings.com/

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    2. I truly hope you're wrong about this Buffalo wings place. I checked out the site and it looks cheap, tacky and definitely not what we need to bring up the neighborhood. Isn't it enough that we have TGIF?

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  17. If a Chipotle opened up in Astoria, nobody would lift an eyebrow. So sad and pathetic that Forest Hills residents are so desperate for fresh food that they could get so excited over a chain that is everywhere in Manhattan. It would be a real shame if independently-owned 5 Burro gets driven out of business thanks to this mammoth, impersonal corporate franchise.

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    1. Lighten up, jeez!
      First of all, these are two completely different animals - Chipotle is fast food and 5 Burros is a sit-down Mexican restaurant whose food, by the way, is light years better than Chipotle's. So calm down.

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    2. If they had opened in Astoria no one would go..too many delicious food options in Astoria..you dont find fast food there except on Steinway which caters to highschool kids mostly

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  18. I was just there this past weekend with my mother. I was not impressed and she was even less impressed. It's a glorified Taco Bell. I think the next time I have a taco craving, I'll hit the food truck parked at the Citibank corner.

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    1. Sorry if this sounds obnoxious, but this was your first time at a Chipotle? I mean, they're all over the city!

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  19. They have been averaging 800 customers per day. Do the math. The landlord will surely be making note.

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  20. Chipotle is bringing in customers that the Pizza Place couldn't. The pizza place was always empty.

    People don't want pizza but they all seem to be craving Chipotle in mass. It is doing better than all the other food places in Forest Hills combined. It is packed at hours when even Subway is empty.

    So out of all the loads of food places here, Chipotle is making the most money of the lot, hence the highest EPS per share figures and the stellar high stock price.

    Chipotle has a nice interior, and apparently some of the inside hasn't been finished and there is a sign up saying pending liquor license.

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  21. Not that I eat at Chipotle much, but it has a right to exist as an option and the firm has a right to keep the profit margins coming. Smart business.

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  22. People like it and wanted it here. So it came here. Not because of me but because of a management decision to go where the money is.

    In Forest Hills you have a TON of people in a community all over. And successful business models can succeed here as we saw with Chipotle. It was a shame that Forest Hills was one of the last openings and so much profit came in from just one location. But imagine if Chipotle had been here instead of the Pizza Place. The firm would have been making a ton for much longer.

    Marthas Bakery is crowded, Chipotle is crowded. Bad business goes out and much stronger business goes in.

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    1. I really do have to come up with a nickname for you. Maybe "Micky Three Comments," or something like that.

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  23. I hope FH gets more fast food chains! load us up I say :)

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    1. Like what? There are very few quality fast food chains. Chipotle is just about it a matter of fact. Maybe there's one or two more I'm not thinking of.

      No one wants to see Burger Kings opening up on Austin St. As you can see, the more traditional fast food chains (McDonald's, Subway) don't venture very far from the subway stop at 71st/Continental. And that's no accident.

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    2. there are plenty of fast food chains out there! I dont care if they are all over on 71st/Continental but the more we get the better chance they will start to spread out to Austin and QB :)

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    3. Why in the world would you want this? has to be a troll.....

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  24. a troll? you must have missed several people on this site begging for a panera bread on austin st just a few months ago

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  25. I just went for the first time, and definitely the last. I ordered a vegetarian burrito. I got one spoonful of rice, one spoonful of beans. That's it. The burrito was so tiny it fit in the palm of my hand (I'm a size 2 girl), and I was charged $8.00 for it. The guy next to me in line laughed "that's a burrito?! It looks like an Chinese egg roll!!" I was stunned. I could have gotten more food at Taco Bell for $1.49. And I noticed that people who ordered the burrito bowl for the same price got twice as much food. Seriously, this is ridiculous. Never again.

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    1. How come you never went to Chipotle until now? They've been in the city for years and years.
      I've been countless times and their burritos are always enormous!

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  26. It was my first time at THIS Chipotle. And the burrito was the size of an egg roll. No lie. I went to the one near my work the other night and the burrito was an acceptable size. I think I'll skip the FH Chipotle from now on.

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    1. Logical. Because you would expect the Forest Hills Chipotle will know it is you and make sure they give you another freakishly small burrito. You, sufferer of Forest Hills Chipotle burrito persecution, have my sympathies.
      It just keeps getting weirder and weirder...

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    2. Not sure what the point for Drake's posting was, but I agree with the previous poster...to some extent. There have been inconsistencies in size. One night, we received an excessive amount of chicken, and other times, I wondered if we got the vegetarian. Sure, it all depends on the server, but I find that Manhattan (in general), is pretty consistent with making a specific size. But hey, they're still new, so maybe they're working the kinks. I wouldn't be quick to dismiss them altogether. Your tummy will thank you.

      - D

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    3. Of couse there are going to be inconsistencies in size. Geez! Haven't you ever been to a Chipotle before? They've been all over the City for years and years! The food is not assembled by a machine, but by humans. So there will be inconsistencies. And of course they didn't give this person a burrito the size of an eggroll. How ridiculous! I've been to the Chipotle in Forest Hills virtually every week since it opened and the size of their burritos is of course the size of a burrito I get at any Chipotle in Manhattan or wherever. This is not rocket science.
      Since you seem new to this blog, let me explain something: There are certain people who just want to tear down and criticize any progress or anything new that opens in Forest Hills. They have their own reasons for doing so which I have already discussed on this blog. But that doesn't mean I will let them have a free hand at such nonsense.

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    4. Oh, any by the way, if you have any doubts about what I am saying, please! Don't take my word for it. Just go to the Chipotle on Austin and try it yourself. The constant lines and packed crowd aren't there to pay their hard earned money for burritos the size of egg rolls! Don't you think if that was happening they'd have stopped coming weeks ago? The place has been opened for months. And, by the way, just look at the photo I took of the burrito I had there. It was huge!

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    5. I don't think LR's point was malicious. It's an opinion based on their experience. And since, as usual, you get on the defense (as opposed to providing a critical view on a point), I'd like to point out that while yes, they are made by hand, they have to follow a protocol to determine how much goes into a burrito. Yes, each will be different depending on preference, but there is reason they have a specific size spoon per ingredient. There is reason the plate is a specific size in a bowl. it's not a coincidence that the amount of avocado given is the same across the board...if they're doing it right. If there is a wide discrepancy between two burrito's (which can happen), maybe there is a control issue on the management side. And perhaps that is where LR is coming from.

      Not sure why you've been on the defense about so many posts lately, we're just a community of people who share a common ground. Happy Thursday my Fohi peeps! Looking forward to some fresh baked bread this weekend. And fwiw Drake, I'm still not a Republican :o)

      Susan, if you have to chance to read this, I cant imagine Chipotle being on your list of recommended places to eat? Have you tried it, and if so, how do you get around the high sodium? Brown rice, plate (no burrito) and mainly veggies?

      - D

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    6. Oh, not on the defense about most comments, as you can see by the varied comments here and the others on Facebook.

      So, back to the point - if you visit Chipotle and they happen to serve you a freakishly small "egg roll-size" burrito, most people, knowing it's a Chipotle after all, would try a couple of things: Bringing it back and showing them and complaining in the hopes of being granted a full-sized, un-stunted burrito. Or just accepting the mistake and trying the place again another time in the hopes the problem doesn't recur. After all, it is, Chipotle, one of the most popular and successful Quick Service Restaurant chains in the country. I ask you, What would be the chance of receiving another tiny egg-roll size burrito on the second visit? Minimal to none! UNLESS, however, the Forest Hills Chipotle staff has something out for this individual, has already pegged him or her "Egg Roll" and serves up another freakish egg-roll size burrito. Now, most people would find such a possibility silly, if not bizarre. Why, after all, would the entire staff of a restaurant single out one customer to make his life miserable by depriving him of average to above size burritos? Ah, therein lies the question.

      Now, having said all that, this person instead decided on another course of action: to immediately throw up his hands with our Forest Hills Chipotle and the decision is made: He or she will never, ever return there but instead acquire all future burritos at any of the many other Chipotles in the metropolitan area. Now, does that course of action make sense to you? Or, has this person completely overreacted to the "situation." And, if he or she has, what would be the motivation in publicizing said overreaction?

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  27. I'm sure they were just exaggerating a point that the burrito wasn't the size they expected. :p

    - D

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    1. By the way, you say you wondered if you got the vegetarian one night. They make it right in front of you. You might want to explain you were distracted or something because this is a big deal to people who are vegetarians. In the case of Chipotle, one of the nice things is they are preparing the food right in front of you - it is quite interactive - so, unless you are distracted for some reason and look away, you will be seeing what you are getting. Another reason why chances of getting a smaller-than-average anything, are virtually impossible. I mean, if she saw her burrito was going to be so smal, why didn't she just say so as they were preparing it? The food preparer is right there in front of you, talking to you.

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    2. As with the previous poster, I wasn't being literal. "So little chicken I wonder if they made it vegetarian." "So small I thought it was an egg roll." Just a form of silly writing to express a point...nothing more.


      - D

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    3. You should tell them next time, I'm sure they'll give you more if you think they've underserved you. And that goes for LR. Such an easy solution - woud've saved me all this typing!

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    4. Or you could've read it as a joke to begin with and avoided saying anything at all, hehe

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    5. You seem so incredibly preoccupied and concerned with everything I say and do. I am truly flattered, but I assure you, I really don't merit being put on such a pedestal by anyone. :)

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    6. Feelings are mutual ;o)

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    7. The only difference is, since it's my blog, there's a reason I am.

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  28. It's a public blog so yea...same here.

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    1. Ha! Ok, whatever floats your boat!

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    2. Did you join the bandwagon and decide to play with words too? Or should I take what you said literally and believe that you think I own a boat that floats???

      HAHA, OK, I'm done. This was fun. Nice chatting with you Drake! :)

      - D

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    3. You don't have to be done, keep commenting as much as your heart desires :)

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  29. Wow, dude. I have always liked your blog and posted comments in your defense when people get on your case. I follow you on Facebook and Twitter. But to attack me like that just because I said the quality of this particular Chipotle doesn't match that of others... come on. You're defending them like you own the place. No, I am not new to Chipotle or food or the world. I hadn't been there yet because I work two jobs and it's in the opposite direction when I just want to get home at night. And yes, I did say something as they were preparing it. Quite good-naturedly, in fact. They looked at me like I had three heads. And it wasn't me who said it looked like an egg roll, it was someone else in line, a complete stranger. My "motivation" for sharing my experience was the same as yours when you share an experience. I'm sorry if mine differed from yours, but you don't need to get so angry and insulting about it. I'm not one to make dramatic goodbye speeches on forums, but geez. I don't need to be treated like a friggin' terrorist because I said my burrito was small. Talk about overreacting.

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    1. Sorry, but your Forest Hills Chipotle story just didn't bare up after scrutiny. Nothing in my experience there led me to believe they would for some reason underserve you so much. If anything, their portions are too freakin' big! Enough for two people, not one. Notice how no one else has agreed with your story and complained about the same thing. Next time you post on a blog, give a little thought to the ramifications of spreading negative bullshit about newly opened businesses in our nabe. A lot of local men and women work at Chipotle and by spreading false stuff about the place on a local blog that thousands read you can really end up hurting the business and those people's jobs. Think about it.

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    2. Well, maybe one person had a similar complaint. But that one makes sense- it wasnt about the size if the burrito but about how much meat they gave. That always differs for me whichever Chipotle I go too, here or Manhattan..

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    3. And also, if you notice, my problem was mostly with the irrationality of you declaring you will never go to the Forest Hills Chipptle after this one alleged negative experience. WTF is up with that? I think I've made clear that that is a really bizarre and extreme reaction to one supposesly negative experience. Give it a little thought and maybe you'll see what I mean.
      And yes, I do take a sense of ownership and pride in great new businesses that choose to open in Forest Hills. I live here, so why wouldn't I? Maybe you should think about that too before you go disparraging them. God knows we need more places like Chipotle here. This nabe is jist now coming into its own.

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    4. Seriously, I'm in agreement with LR, Drake must have some serious stock invested in this place, lol. "Negative Bullshit???" Is that how you treat loyal readers who want to provide input on your blog? You attacked another regarding politics because they didnt agree with your non-forest hills related articles. I'm sure stating it was the size of an egg roll didn't impact the THOUSANDS of readers you claim you have, that's just silly. Show some respect Drake, that's low, even for you.

      Regards,
      Kathy

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  30. "I do take a sense of ownership and pride in great new businesses"... How about doing that for your loyal readers too (whether you agree with a comment or not)

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    1. Oh, i love my readers and they are well aware of it. You must be a newbie. No one ever said by the way that the Edge of the City experience would be a walk in the park. You have to be willing to be disagreed with when you comment here -- if you're comment sounds like BS.

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    2. By the way, what are you doing sitting around reading a blog for anyway on a beautiful day like today. Get the frak outside and get some fresh air.

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    3. Really, "negative Bullshit" is a great way to show it. That's a great way to show that "you have to be willing to be disagreed with.." Maybe you should act on your words. There is a difference from being critical and disrespectful, Drake. Been here for years, usually stayed quiet till I started seeing more and more negativity from your end. And I see I'm not alone. Maybe you're too stubborn to see it.

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    4. Outside at the park as we speak, writing a paper and enjoying some good leisure reading till your negativity messed it up.

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  31. Ha! i hope you recover from the trauma soon!

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