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The case earned national headlines — who in the 21st century still thought the burrito was a sandwich? — and soon after, the Qdoba opened in Shrewsbury, where it remains. "Short story, it looked like a frivolous lawsuit, and it was that," says Qdoba exec Ted Stoner. "Panera was trying to slow us down."

Doug Thielen, former manager of non-traditional marketing and public relations for Qdoba, was working with the franchise group in Boston when Panera filed the lawsuit. "There was a little bit of surprise — people thought, 'Really?'" he says, laughing. "With this country being immersed in Mexican food on a regular basis, you'd figure people would know this already. From a social-media perspective, people still bring this up — it was great publicity for us. Legally, burritos now stand on their own."

adapted from Taco USA

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3 comments
JPMaynes35
JPMaynes35

Illegal Pete's sucks! Chipotle all the way

monopod
monopod

I'm curious about whether Illegal Pete's predates Chipotle... I recall eating there in the summer of 1995, I think, and it seemed to already be a staple of the college dining scene in Boulder. Maybe I'm misremembering my dates, but that would seem to put it pretty close to the opening of the first Chipotle. Anyone know?

Not sure if I'd say they're always better than Chipotle - less consistent, anyway - but their big potato and big fish burritos are an excellent change from Chipotle's limited menu.

Ian
Ian

Illegal Pete's is better than either chain.

 
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