OT: BTB, Pancheros, Qdoba, or Chipotle?

Submitted by aaamichfan on February 22nd, 2012 at 8:36 PM

The board seems a bit dead tonight, so I figure this isn't a bad conversation.

I'm not someone who eats a lot of burritos, but I just had BTB for the first time in a while and it was a lot better than I remember. I've always thought Pancheros was garbage, and Qdoba has always been my favorite. Chipotle seems like basically the same thing as Qdoba, but not quite as flavorful. 

If I were to rate the local Ann Arbor burrito places, I'd go Qdoba, then BTB, then Chipotle, then Pancheros a distant fourth. I would always hear a lot of people fawning over Pancheros in the past and still have no idea why. 

Anyways, how would you rate the local Ann Arbor burrito selection, and can someone please explain to me what is so damn special about Pancheros?



February 22nd, 2012 at 9:33 PM ^

we say around the office, anytime someone brings in Qdoba/Chipotle/Taco Hell/anything of that ilk:

"should've cut out the middleman and thrown it in the toilet"



Bo Knows

February 22nd, 2012 at 8:40 PM ^

Qdoba has the widest variety as well as the best tasing, but there isn't one on campus and therefore falls in 4th

BTB is number one, prime drunk food best location, next is panchero's garbage but again great drunk food

Chipotle is 3rd, 2nd best in taste, least convenient on campus


February 22nd, 2012 at 8:41 PM ^

QDoba's with the barbecue sauce are by far my favorite.  Especially with adding in the Guacamole.  I like Panchero's and Chipotle, but something about BTB has always struck me a being kind of off. 

Josh S

February 22nd, 2012 at 8:42 PM ^

I'm partial to Moe's Southwest Grill myself, but I think that is because I ate a burrito at Moe's before I had one at any of the other locations.


February 22nd, 2012 at 8:44 PM ^

Pancheros is so bad, they have all closed on the west side of the state. QDoba and Chipotle are basically the same thing, as the two founders of QDoba split apart and one of them started Chipotle. The biggest difference... Chipotle has better grilled vegetables and the quality of the food is better overall. QDoba is very good, and they have quest. Chipotle has no queso, which is what keeps it from scoring a perfect 10.


February 22nd, 2012 at 8:56 PM ^

QDoba and Chipotle are basically the same thing, as the two founders of QDoba split apart and one of them started Chipotle.

This is entirely wrong. Chipotle was founded two years before Qdoba (1993 vs. 1995), and the only connection between the two companies is that they were both founded in Denver.


February 22nd, 2012 at 8:44 PM ^

I always like both BTB and Pancheros, though they were very different.  I liked the burrito with carnitas at Pancheros, the fresh tortilla worked well with the stewed pork.  At BTB I liked the chicken with the freshness of the pico and the lettuce.  I didn't have Chipotle or Qdoba until recently a few years after leaving Ann Arbor.  I'd put Chipotle a step below Pancheros and BTB, in some ways I think it is a bit of a mix of the two.  And I found the burrito from qdoba to be aweful, the rice was flavorless and it comepletely ruined the rest of the burrito for me.


February 22nd, 2012 at 8:45 PM ^

I'm going with BTB the way I remember it.  Pre-cantina BTB circa 2005-2006.  In my return trips to AA I always feel like is has been cheapened a little... or, maybe I just not as blackout drunk.


Between the chains, its Qdoba easy, then chipotle... and a unbelievable distant 3rd is Pancheros, which tastes like a high school cafeteria burrito.


Burritos are important to me.


Pound the Rock

February 22nd, 2012 at 8:48 PM ^

I don't get much on my burrito so at $4.50 for steak, rice and lettuce, Chipotle is hard to beat. None of the other places have a discount for that. The same thing at Pancheros is like $9.00. Qdoba is pretty good too. Wasn't a fan of BTB. 


February 22nd, 2012 at 8:49 PM ^

There is nothing special.  It is dry meat garbage.  The ONLY (and I do mean ONLY) redeeming thing about Pancheros is that they mix everything up before the roll it, eliminating that bite of nothing but rice, or guac that you get with Qdoba.  The problem is, it tastes like garbage.


I'm gonna buy my local Qdoba some spatulas.



February 22nd, 2012 at 8:50 PM ^

BTB. Any day. Two grilled chicken quesadillas, $3.75 each, before every basketball game, after every football game. So god damn good and a prime location. The only downside to discovering BTB is that I literally never go to Quickee anymore (delicious, but overpriced...) because the two are so close and I just can't pass up the chicken queso. 


February 22nd, 2012 at 8:51 PM ^

Wow, I guess I'm the outlier but I say Panchero's number one for sure. Everyone of my friends in college loved Panchero's top, it was always out favorite lunch stop on campus. Funny to hear so many people dislike it.

After that, I'd say Chipotle second and BTB third (although that's admittedly a toss-up) and Qdoba fourth. LA doesn't have Panchero's or BTB, obviously, but there are far more Chipotles and they're much busier than Qdoba.


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:01 PM ^

I'm also from LA and I 100% agree with the order: Panch, Chipotle, BTB and Qdoba.  I think Southern California does a damn good job with Mexican food and Panch has always been one of my favorite fast food mexican places.  Same with most of my college friends.  The tortillas are amazing and the queso is damn good.  Plus, Panch delivers, which is just a fantastic plus.  Chipotle has the best damn guac out of anyone in the running here and maybe the best of any fast food mexican place in the US.  BTB is third, strictly for their nachos.  Qdoba is dead last by a mile, I might even take Moes over Qdoba for their salsa selection.


February 23rd, 2012 at 9:38 AM ^

Pancheros is number one.  The fresh on the spot tortillas makes all the difference.  I get their veggie burritos quite a bit and really like them.  The carnitas is really good too.  I've yet to give BTB a try but will put it on my list.


I'm not sure what the Pancheros hate is all about???


February 22nd, 2012 at 8:53 PM ^

But, Chipotle would challenge for burrito supremacy if they added queso to the menu.  Queso is key.  Also... BTB is overrated by the frequency with which it is consumed while drunk.  While I am often overwhelmed with nostalgia every time I eat there now, I am not overwhelmed with the actual food. 

Edit:  Almost forgot about Pancheros.  Fitting, I suppose.

My name ... is Tim

February 22nd, 2012 at 8:52 PM ^

BTB hands down. Great burritos. Great tacos. I probably put on a solid 10 lbs when BTB first opened up about a block away from my house during college and I discovered the awesomeness of their steak nachos.


February 22nd, 2012 at 8:54 PM ^

I love Qdoba.  They actually marinate their meat in a way that makes sense and it always comes out juicy and flavorful.  I also think their Queso is the best.

I would put Chipotle next, as their spices are pretty good.  Overall the burrito just seems slightly lower quality than Qdoba however; seems like its smaller, they use lesss ingredients, etc.

Pancheros is pretty low.  Two of my best friends worked at Pancheros in high school so I would always get hooked up, and I still didn't like it very much.  Everything is just less flavorful than the top two options.  Their steak is quite dry as well.

Finally, BTB goes all the way on the bottom.  Five years ago when I was a freshmen, I thought it was the best thing in the world.  However, the quality really seems to have gone down and I find their burritos incredibly dry.  Had my last burrito there last year (senior year) and really did not enjoy it at all.  Yes, it's great drunk food, but in that state there isn't a whole lot that doesn't taste good.  If you want delicious drunk food, go to South U Pizza.  Love that place.

A sidenote for the health conscious:  what I learned from my two good friends who worked at Pancheros in high school is that burritos overall are actually quite healthy.  Assuming you don't get the bad toppings for you, straight up rice, beans, and some kind of protein with a little sauce is quite decent for you.  It is the TORTILLA THAT KILLS YOU.  These places fill their tortillas with lard, sugars, and all sorts of bad stuff to make them taste better.  The better option is always to go for a burrito bowl and just ask for some extra rice or beans.


February 22nd, 2012 at 8:56 PM ^

Living in Denver, I'll start by openly admitting my bias; but Chipotle has the top spot on my list. Qdoba has more options (some of which are very good), but for pure flavor Chipotle takes it for me. If any of you make it out here, try Illegal Pete's. Just about anything you want wrapped in a tortilla, great bars with killer happy hours and a generally fun crowd. Not so sure they take MCards though...


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:09 PM ^

I recently moved to Boulder and I just had Illegal Pete's for the first time last week. Quite simply it was delicious. I am not sure if I like it more than Big City Burrito though. The potatoes you can get there are incredible.


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:53 PM ^

Second on Illegal Pete's. 

And having had a lot of Chipotle in Colorado, and sampled a few Chipotles in Ann Arbor, as well as the Midwest in general, I've come to the conclusion that it just tastes better in Colorado. I now reluctantly and sparingly eat it outside of CO. 

Since you're in Denver (and for anyone else who lives there or visits) check out Tacos Y Salsas. There are a few in town, and while the two I've been to (the one on Federal and the one Colfax) are pretty sketchy, they are hands down my favorite tacos, and cheap too!


February 23rd, 2012 at 4:33 AM ^

Chipotle outside of Colorado is an adventure, to say the least. I went to the one closest to my parents' place in Macomb County and was amazed a stick-on fingernail didn't end up in the finished product. I'm also biased because I spent a lot of college on a couch down the block from the original Chipotle and they always seem to get it right.

I live a block away from a Tacos y Salsas now, and I'll second the recommendation. Fortunately for me the location downtown isn't quite as sketchy. 

/rambling about tortilla-wrapped food in Denver.


February 22nd, 2012 at 8:58 PM ^

Surprised with the Qdoba love. Most people I know prefer Chipolte, including myself. Love the Carnita burritos. They definitely aren't shy with the salt.

BTB has the best salsa and guac. I'm not a huge fan with the marinade they use on their steak. It's a little too strong. I'd put them just behind Chipolte.

Qdoba is good too. Very similar to Chipolte.

Is Panchero's still around? I really liked them when they used refried beans and advertised their 2 lb burrito. Then they changed their ingredents and became just like Chipolte and Qdoba, except not as good.


February 22nd, 2012 at 8:58 PM ^

1. Pancheros - Best tortillas (made on the spot) and salsa by far. Plus they mix the ingredients up so you get everything in every bite.

2. Chipotle

3. Qdoba - burritos are garbage, but quesadillas are good. Tortillas come in a bag.

4. BTB (the one in EL didn't even make it for a year because they cant keep up with Pancheros just down the road)

A good way to gauge it. Pancheros is the only one you will ever see a mexican eating at.


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:11 PM ^

I guess there is something to be said about Pancheros mixing the ingredients, but I kinda like getting to the bottom where the last couple bites are pretty much just meat and all the cheese that has melted to the bottom.