Cafe Society

Reader: Steve Ells is a visionary -- but he's a boring interview

The first Chipotle Mexican Grill opened on July 13, 1993 at 1644 East Evans. From that single store, founder Steve Ell built an empire, an empire based on the concept of bringing fine-dining standards to fast-casual -- and also emphasizing locally sourced, quality ingredients. To mark the twentieth anniversary of Chipotle, the company is running a twenty-day contest that could win you burritos for twenty years, and we have our own contest, which ends this morning, that could net you a catered party for twenty. And we also published a long Chef and Tell interview with Ells, which has people talking across the Colorado -- and also here in Colorado, of course, where Chipotle got its start. See also: - Chef and Tell with Steve Ells, founder of Chipotle - The ten spiciest moments in Chipotle's twenty-year history - For Chipotle's birthday, Westword built a two-pound burrito

Says AndyPudding:

I am proud of the success of home-grown Chipotle, and my wife, three kids and I eat there at least twice a month. And I believe Steve is a visionary. But he's a boring interview.

I understand that "sustainable ingredients" is a Chipotle corporate key message, but using it in nearly every answer makes it just sound tired, and saps its meaning. I wish he had an interesting anecdote or two to share, specifically when Lori asked about the best customer feedback he's received, or what his worst trait is, or something he would have done differently.

Although he was surprisingly open about the lawsuit and immigration questions.

What did you think of the interview with Steve Ells? What do you think of Chipotle in general?


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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun