Fresh business at new burrito joint | VailDaily.com
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Fresh business at new burrito joint

Geoff Mintz
Daily correspondent
Vail CO Colorado
NWS Qdoba DT 2-17-11
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VAIL, Colorado – In its fourth day open for business, Qdoba Mexican Grill in West Vail offered up free food to the valley’s “local heros.” Firefighters, ski patrollers, hospital workers and police officers – anyone with a badge, uniform or scrubs – were treated to lunch on the house.

It’s a way to give back to the community, while promoting the new, fast-casual restaurant in Vail, Marketing Director Amy Cassidy said.

Qdoba brings a modern approach to quick food. Unlike other fast food joints, there is not a single freezer in the entire facility. None of the food is precooked, and everything is homemade, from the sauces to the chips and salsa.

The restaurant shares a space with Subway, which was acquired by the owner of the Qdoba franchise last year. He renovated the former Dominos location, creating a spacious, open dining environment.

The Qdoba opened its doors Monday by offering free burritos to the first 25 customers. Although the restaurant did not open until 10 a.m., there were people arriving at dawn. Qdoba plans to offer similar promotions in the future, designed to get locals in the door.

But business has been steady. Even in Thursday’s nasty driving conditions, the owner expected to serve 500 people.

“We wanted to make sure that everyone knows we’re here,” Cassidy said. “A lot of people have been waiting for us to open, so we’ve really been trying to get the word out.”

Qdoba and other fast-casual restaurants are part of a growing national trend toward restaurants that prepare high-quality food at a price and pace similar to a fast-food establishment. A meal with all the fixings will run you about a buck or two more than a full meal at a drive-through.

Qdoba is counting on not only locals, but also hungry folks who have worked up an appetite driving over the Vail Pass and from the west. Passersby might be tempted into the West Vail shopping area by the golden arches, but will, in many cases, opt for what Qdoba believes is a finer dining experience at a competitive price.

“The location is very good, in between McDonald’s and Subway,” Cassidy said. “What’s amazing is how many people really love Qdoba. The food is really good, and it’s really a great value. And freshness – the freshness is key.”

The West Vail Qdoba will match Denver pricing throughout the menu, which is a rarity in the food business, the owners say. For example, a huge burrito, made with unfrozen, freshly cooked meat and fresh veggies will run you about $6.50 – it’s more than enough to fill you up after, say, a long day on the hill.

“We’re still learning, trying to get faster, improving in every phase, including customer service, while maintaining great quality food,” Cassidy said. “We are incredibly pleased with the quality of people working here.”

Qdoba Mexican Grill is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. everyday.


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