As I ducked inside Beaucoup Burrito, my fantasies briefly sustained me, filling in for the abject lack of anything approaching decor. The spot looked like a poverty-stricken imitation Chipotle: bare white-on-white-on-electric-lemon-lime-on-white walls, a soda machine, a counter and sneeze guard with handwritten grease-pencil notes demarcating what was what, a menu hanging on the back wall, a few tables set askew on the floor and the most uncomfortable chairs I've ever seen--backless, butt-cupping bastard chairs like the result of some frantic coupling between a barstool and an Ikea wine rack. There was also an abject lack of anything approaching business during what should have been the lunch rush.
But I was able to ignore all this, as well as the questioning eye of the guy at the counter when I asked about the seafood burrito: peppered scallops and shrimp with rice and ginger barbecue sauce. A look that said something like, "Dude, I know better than to eat lukewarm shellfish on a slow Monday. Why don't you?"
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SHOW ME HOW
You can imagine how things went from there.
It was a bad week for eating out -- a bad week for restaurants in general. First, there was the disaster of Beaucoup Burritos (the subject of this week's Cafe review), tempered only slightly by the better meal I had next door at Three Sisters Cafe (the subject of Second Helping). But overall, those eating experiences had me longing for the consistency of Chipotle, Denver's home-grown success story that I discuss in Bite Me.
Then news of closures started rolling in to Bite Me World HQ, and the rest of the week became like a series of autopsies -- a scientific investigation of why some places make it and so many more don't.
Still, not all is doom and gloom. We got word of a couple of openings (discussed in this week's Bite Me), and a few restaurants out there are even doing well. But for others, last week will stand as the time when things began to fall apart. I'm crossing my fingers for next week.