CELEBRATE GRAND OPENING
The wait is just about over! Boloco
will officially open on Elm Street at Bethesda Row this Thursday, July 19.
And to celebrate, they'll be giving away FREE burritos!
I was invited to Boloco's Very Important Burrito Eaters party last night, and I made sure to bring back photos and video
Most importantly, how is the food at Boloco?
Well, join me on the red carpet
for a visit to our new neighborhood burrito restaurant.
Yes, there was an actual red carpet out front. The Boloco twist was to replace the standard velvet ropes with burrito-wrapperesque foil.
Inside, I met Cait Simmons, who was handing out name badges, and whose name I recognized from the @boloco Twitter team. Nicole Ravlin, a publicist for Boloco, gave me a tour of the restaurant.
The first thing you'll probably notice, is the painting of the Bethesda Metro Center on the right side wall of the dining area by Boston artist Sean Boyce. As a big fan of the Metro Center buildings and plaza, I loved that.
On the far opposite wall are three, large flatscreen TVs. The left one was displaying @bolocobethesda tweets. I don't know if it will always be reserved for that purpose, but it would be cool if it was. Then dining patrons could tweet live and it would show up on the screen. A second screen was showing ESPN. Screen 3 had Boloco TV.
I tested several burritos: Classic Mexican, Teriyaki, Tikka Masala and The Summer.
|Jimmy Carter Shake, Tikka Masala burrito, The Summer burrito (mini size)|
In retrospect, the Tikka Masala (brown rice, Masala sauce and - in this case - chicken) and Classic Mexican were my favorites. I usually tend to favor red meat in burritos, but in this case, I found I liked the chicken better than the beef. The Classic Mexican doesn't disappoint the traditionalist, with just a hint of spicy heat. Great Pinto beans. The housemade mango salsa in The Summer burrito was fresh and ripe. And the rice in all four was moist, and didn't suffer from the "Minute Rice Effect" you encounter at lesser burrito chains.
Burritos come in 3 sizes: Original, Small, and Mini, the last one being great if you want to try different flavors without committing to a massive burrito.
You can also choose your wrapper (flour or whole wheat tortilla, or just a bowl) protein (chicken, white meat chicken, steak, carnitas, tofu or fajita veggies) and decide if you want to add Boloco's special guacamole. Or build your own from dozens of options.
For beverages, they were actually handing out beer and wine at the party last night, but I was on a quest for the Jimmy Carter Shake. I've been waiting to try this concoction of peanut butter, banana and "super premium" ice cream since I first examined the Boloco menu so many months ago.
Alas, the Jimmy Carter was not being sampled last night! But wait. Nicole disappeared into the kitchen. A few minutes later, Jason Hutchinson, Executive Chef and co-founder of Boloco, emerged from the kitchen with a cup in hand. "I hear you wanted a Jimmy Carter Shake," he said, and handed me a full-size cup (not just a little sample size) and straw. In my hand, he explained, was the very first Jimmy Carter Shake to be whipped up at Boloco Bethesda. Now that's world class.
And delicious. Imagine the limited-edition Elvis Peanut Butter Cups, minus chocolate, added to a rich, vanilla milkshake. 5 stars - my new favorite beverage at Bethesda Row, and I think it will be yours, too.
While testing all of this, I also had a couple of interesting conversations with Allison of Boloco's marketing team, and Boloco CEO and co-founder John Pepper.
Yes, you read that right - the actual CEO was in the house, and talking with guests. He emphasized the company's focus on advancing employees and treating them well, as if they were customers being served by the company. To illustrate that, he pointed out a hidden back room you won't see when you visit the restaurant: a break room for employees, that he asked architects to make nicer even than the main dining area.
Whether it's hormone-free meat or fresh, organic fillings, the larger goals of the company - to change lives and the world with globally-inspired burritos - is reflected throughout the customer experience. As an example, check out what the side of my Jimmy Carter Shake cup said:
This cup grew up in Blair, Nebraska.
It really did.
It's made entirely of plants.
It's 100% compostable.
You can't help but be impressed. If you're just at Boloco for delicious burritos, you'll be satisfied. But if bigger issues concern you as well, you too will be a satisfied customer. Boloco is a nearly guilt-free dining experience at Bethesda Row, as you can know you are helping people, your health and the environment with every meal.
The focus on employees shines through in their interaction with customers. Without exception, every employee was friendly, courteous and going out of his or her way to ensure a better experience for customers.
And now it's your turn!
Stop by Thursday for FREE burritos!
And we've got a record to break
burritos is the standing record for Boloco burrito giveaways at a single location.
I know we can beat that!
So get ready to goloco for Boloco Thursday, and bring your family and friends. They also have a kids menu, and are open for breakfast with breakfast burritos. Did I mention they have the amazing Coke Freestyle
dispenser that lets you create over 100 drink flavors?
Here's an exclusive video
to get you warmed up!
Labels: Bethesda Row, Boloco, Boloco Bethesda, burrito, free burrito, grand opening, Jimmy Carter Shake, John Pepper, menu, open, restaurant, review