Friday, August 9, 2013

Burrito Battles: Boloco

If Chipotle is the unofficial king of fast food burritos, then Boloco must be the next step in the evolutionary process. Relatively new to the area (their 19th Street location opened last November) Boloco is what all burrito restaurants should aspire to become. Beautiful to look at (inside and out, A+ for design) with superlative customer service, free wi-fi, affordable prices, and great food... the only thing missing would be breakfast, my favorite meal of the day. Hang on a minute: They've got that too.

That's right: Boloco (love the name) does breakfast. Even better, both the downtown and Bethesda locations open at 7:00 AM and serve breakfast until 11. I stopped by a little after 10:30 and met Anika, the hostess with the mostess. After I told her this was my first visit, she walked me to the menu board to show me what's what. I had to stop her however, since I came on a mission: I was here for a Truck Stop (another great name!) What's a Truck Stop? Let's start off with your choice of flour or whole wheat tortilla, wrapped around bacon, farm fresh (since 2007) scrambled eggs, potatoes and cheese. I passed on the queso; but when I asked about salsa, Anika didn't skip a beat, 'Would you like some?' You have a choice of three different sizes (mini, small & original) and I went with the latter. Take a guess how much they charge? $7? $8? $9? Try $4.73, plus an equally paltry $1.45 for a small soda. $4.73! Are you kidding me?

Truck Stop Original

Anika took my name, and I grabbed a seat inside the gorgeous dining area. Before sitting down, I filled up my drink at the Coca-Cola Freestyle dispenser (does Boloco have no bounds?) Fanta Zero Grape. Try finding that at Chipotle! Once seated, I immediately noticed a sign by my table regarding free wi-fi and... wait for it: The option of borrowing a charger, just in case you need another type of juice. Forget Chipotle, try finding that anywhere. P.S. I got a full three bars on the wi-fi signal: No need to worry about that aspiring writer, typing away on their iPad at the next table.

Nice details

Free juice

Minutes later, I heard my name. Food's up. My burrito was wrapped in foil and presented on a small, round tray. If the food's good, I'm moving in. Unfortunately, it wasn't good... It was delicious. For starters, it was packed with crispy, high quality bacon (no fatty, see through, half-bacon here.) The giant sized burrito was also generously filled with eggs and potatoes; but I would probably ask for salsa next time... or at least some hot sauce, to give it a bit of kick and moisture. Even without, it was darn tasty. Did I mention it cost only $4.73?

A few customers came in to order take away; and each time, all I could hear was Anika cheerfully processing orders and chatting up her clients (talk about a happy camper.) I exchanged smiles with one departing customer, who obviously shared my opinion of how great the service was. After finishing my breakfast, I cleared my table and passed a row of flat panel TVs en route to the restroom (spotless, naturally) to wash my hands.

Here's where Boloco instantly became the best quick restaurant in the Metropolitan area. On my way out, I saw Anika tidying up front, while another friendly employee (Erica) was busy sweeping the floor close by. I thanked both of them, and told them how happy I was with my dining experience. Anika smiled and said, "Thanks Peter. Have a great day." She actually remembered my name. Wow.

I looked at my receipt a bit later, and noticed the phrase 'We're always listening...' printed at the bottom. Clearly they are, and here's hoping others listen too... and follow my recommendation of visiting Boloco early (breakfast!) and often. Check back soon, when I report on Boloco's unequaled variety of lunch and dinner burritos (Bangkok Thai, Classic Mexican, Memphis BBQ and much more.) They even serve organic tofu and Nutella milkshakes! One more Wow!