I like things simple so a bowl of their vegetarian black beans and cilantro-lime rice with a splash of fresh salsa and a heaping scoop of guacamole is my new, favorite, fast food meal.
Chipotle makes a concerted effort to use local and organic produce when appropriate and possible. For instance their website says that:
"Currently, 40% of our beans are certified organic, which has a number of benefits including a reduction of more than 110,000 pounds of chemical pesticide. And we are looking to increase that number in coming years."
"The less distance food has to travel, the better. It just makes sense. Sourcing local food reduces food miles, supports rural economies, and ensures fresh, great-tasting seasonal produce."
Sounds great to me!
Their menu (I grabbed these photos from their website) includes burritos, bowls, soft and crisp tacos, salads and the best guacamole I've ever had. The scoop of guacamole is a bit pricy as an "extra" but well worth the cost.
Even though I no longer eat meat, it still matters to me that the majority of animals used to produce Chipotle meat dishes are, without a doubt, raised under better and more humane living conditions than the most animals used in fast food production. While the fast food industry as a whole is only beginning to take baby steps towards using cage free, organic, humanely produced eggs (Burger King and Carl's Junior), Chipotle is leaps and bounds ahead when it comes to where they source much of their meat and dairy products from. (For burger joints Mojo Burger is the best I know of because they use 100% humanely raised, grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free beef from Meyer Natural Angus Beef.)
Pork: Rather then being raised in crowded, concrete, factory farmed pens, naturally raised pigs are raised outdoors or in pens with deep beds of soft straw, are never given antibiotics and are fed a vegetarian diet. Since 2001, Chipotle has sourced 100% of their pork from producers who follow these guidelines.
Beef: As of July 2010, 100% of their thinly shredded Barbacoa beef is now naturally raised and 85% of the rest of the beef they use is also naturally raised. They will someday achieve a 100% goal that all of the beef they serve will be more humanely raised.
Chicken: In 2002 Chipotle began serving naturally raised chicken. Currently 85% of their chickens are naturally raised. While by law chickens cannot receive growth hormones, Chipotle also ensures that none of their chickens are given the antibiotics commonly used in many factory farmed chicken production facilities.
Dairy Products: Currently over 35% of the cows dairy products are purchased from are pasture-raised and 100% of their products (milk, sour cream, and cheese) are now rBGH free. Chipotle is the first, national, restaurant chain to go 100% rGBH free and here's the kicker, eliminating rGBH didn't cause the restaurant to raise its prices. All of the animal photos are from the Chipotle.com website. Statistics cited above are from the Chipotle website and press releases.
And my other favorite thing about Chipotle: The IZZE Sparkling Grapefruit Sodas. Not something I order every time but as an occasional treat it's so yummy!
Wikipedia says that currently, Chipotle Restaurants can be found in 37 states, the District of Columbia, Ontario, Canada and London, England. If you don't have a Chipotle where you live my advice is to cross your fingers and hope one comes to your city soon. If you want to be more proactive you can also join their Facebook Group to beg, plead and implore for a restaurant in your city.