Airing of Grievances: The New Qdoba

I try my best not to be too negative on this site, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to vent. Every once in awhile I’ll share some of the more angry useful emails I get in a post called “Airing of Grievances”. (If the Eater Complaints Dept. would like royalties, I’ll be happy to pay up…) As a former Los Angelino I can relate to this one (although I don’t know if authentic is the word I’d use for Baja Fresh and Wahoo’s.)

Tried the new Qdoba today. More like Qdon’tbother. Blech! More Mexican food for people who’ve never been west of New Jersey. It’s like a Subway with tortillas and beans instead of lettuce and bread with big knives baked into it. I went for the “hot “ salsa and couldn’t even taste it. Also opted for the “3 Cheese Queso” burrito. I thought it would be three actual cheeses like a real Mexican place might provide… It was pump cheese. Pump cheese! Pump cheese belongs on your 2am, 7-11 nachos not on a friggin burrito!

Upside? The massive, albeit bland, burrito was only 5 bucks and it came with a sweet “I heart Qdoba” t-shirt and a fancy customer loyalty card. I don’t heart Qdoba but I do heart a big-ass, $5 dollar lunch on 50th St. (btw. 6+7th)

But wait, there’s more (not alot, but some things need to go after the jump to protect the children) 

Who do we have to blow to get a decent burrito chain to move into the city? These gringo burrito places have lines out the door. Isn’t there a grip of money to be made by someone who could manage to serve something remotely authentic? A Baja Fresh, a Wahoos Fish Tacos, even a La Salsa Fantastic!

Yes! What that guy said! Got a complaint of your own? Feel free to email it to


  • Qdoba is one of those chains that makes Chipotle seem like a paragon of flavor and quality. I’m sorry for anyone who actually thought this would be an improvement. Also, I’m sorry for anyone who actually thinks that Baja Fresh would be an improvement – I’ve eaten at several and all of them have exactly the same problems as Qdoba – bland, and samey-tasting, no matter what you get.

  • We should push Tehuitzingo to open a satellite branch at the Indian Newstand on 6th. Then I could have both a Chaat and a Taco for lunch!

  • Green Cactus could make a ton of cash here. There are only a couple locations on LI to my knowledge but very legit, fresh and prices are resonable.

  • I actually like Qdoba…not too expensive, everything appears to be clean and fresh (psychologically, this is very important with food), one always gets very full, and the best part is that you don’t feel like death once you’re finished (which is not the norm with Mexican). Another reason I like it is because it’s one of the few fast food joints my girl will actually eat at. Bonus!

  • Try the new Moe’s on 1st Ave. around 22nd St. It’s not great, but it is better than any of the other fast food options in NY.

  • You got a t-shirt with your burrito? How?

    This made me hungry for Mexican. It’s not Midtown nor Lunch, but I’m gonna call Big Enchilada for some tasty fare.

  • As a former Angelino, I second the call for Rubio’s and La Salsa. Sure, I complained about those chains while I was living there, opting for the hole-in-the-wall ma&pa dives instead. But now that I live in NYC, I’d pay good money for some of those factory fish tacos!

  • There was a green cactus in Forrest, too bad I was the only person who went there. It was the only reason for me to go to the NYSC there.

  • I’ll second a Wahoo’s Fish Tacos. Anyone want to open up a franchise with me?

  • I want a Taco Cabana, even if it’s only open for post-drinking.

  • For me, a clean Mexican restaurant makes me question the quality and authenticity of the food. That being said, Chipotle, while not great, never leaves me disappointed.

  • I would not call the 3 cheese queso Pump cheese. It is actually quite good. If you want pump cheese, go to 7/11

  • Moe’s is actually pretty sweet compared to Qdoba/Chipolte… their queso “a.k.a. cup of fat” is phenomenal on the chicken nachos!!!

    I agree that Green Cactus would make a killing… I miss that place so much….

  • Green Cactus might do well here, and their food is much better than the other chains, but even after many years they still don’t have the rhythm down — there’s a fairly long wait for the food even when they’re not too busy.

    While their lack of factory-ness is probably part of why their food is better, that’d be a killer with Midtown-level volumes/demand. They’d probably crash and burn from the stress, or the wait would be hours long.

    Unless they picked a hard-to-find location like Pompano has, where the slowness kind of self-regulates.

  • codenamekaren, I ate at a La Salsa this weekend in St. Louis. And got food poisoning. From the factory fish burrito. And was painfully unimpressed with the offerings at the salsa bar.

    Why are we clamoring for more chains when all this can be solved by taco wagons?

  • Qdoba’s flour tortillas are rubbery and gross, their onions (in the onions and peppers) are waaay too overly ripe and pungent which can be painful on the esophagus after eating and well into the evening. I discovered this after trying Qdoba for the first time at the Third and 53rd location, and I was so pissed I actually complained online – those tortillas were egregious!! They sent me a coupon in the mail for a free meal, and I went back in good faith. Nothing had changed, still sucked. No Qdoba for me ever again! People behind the counter were really nice though.

    By the by, those of you who like Chipotle (hey, I’m not judging) just check the caloric content of what you’re eating… those burritos can each 1000 calories a piece and I’m not kidding.

  • Baja Fresh Food Poisoning at Gresham, Oregon. Two Mahi-mahi Fish tacos at 9pm April 16 2009: in 12 hours exactly I became sick,
    This wicked fish poisoning lasted for four days and I feel better but, the pain from the gas and bloating are still causing discomfort into day Five. Mexicans are Idiots they want to trash this country and are not welcome to turn every small town into a Tijuana trash hive. Just last year my friend walk into a Mexican Restraunt in Portland and witnessed a stupid Mexican using a Toilet Brush to clean the whole sink. Hire one and you get what you deserve! Shoddy Crap work with a side order of dangerous ignorant working conditions. How come Baja Fresh only hires Mexicans? talk about discrimination!

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