The Other Door vs. Chipotle


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The iconic assembly line inside every Chipotle.

Daniel Chia, Staff Writer

The experience of ordering food at Chipotle is ubiquitous; you enter and move down the assembly line assembling your custom burrito/tacos/bowl.  Chipotle isn’t the only Americanized Mexican restaurant doing this though.  The Other Door, located in downtown Lake Bluff is a favorite alternative to Chipotle.  Many people consider it to be a better version of the chain.

The local favorite’s claim to fame is that they “buy from farmers who give a damn about how they grow and the food you eat.  So do we.”

The restaurant has a different feel than Chipotle from the moment you walk in the door.  Spinning vinyls are played by large speakers hung on pastel walls.  Instead of a clinical glass barrier separating you from the food, there’s a high counter with a bar to stand on,  allowing you to see your food being prepared.

Photo by Daniel Chia
The menu at The Other Door, showcasing a greater variety of choices than Chipotle.

The variety of options in food are much greater than at Chipotle.  They have meat options beyond the traditional steak, pork, and chicken, offering more exotic options like duck and pork belly.  One of the other differentiators is  their toppings.  They have guacamole and sour cream like Chipotle, but have three different options for cheese.

The signature part of a meal at The Other Door is the sauces.  They have ten different sauces, each with a number and a whimsical name.  As the numbers go up, so does the spiciness.  The sauces all add an additional layer of flavor that can only be found at The Other Door.

Yet another offering that differs from Chipotle is The Other Door’s horchata.  Horchata is a Mexican drink composed of rice milk, sugar, and cinnamon.  Its presence adds even more to The Other Door’s reputation as the better Chipotle.  


Photo by Daniel Chia
Even something as basic as a steak burrito demonstrates the superior quality of The Other Door.  

The meats are juicy and flavorful, the tortillas chewy and soft, and the sauces add a unique touch to whatever dish you decide to get.  Every aspect of the experience of eating at the Other Door is superior to that at Chipotle.

One of the reasons that The Other Door’s food is so good is that they actually a share a kitchen with the restaurant next door, Inovasi.  The food the two restaurants share is farmed and grown responsibly, showing that The Other a Door really does “give a damn.”

The reputation of The Other Door as a better Chipotle is well deserved, born of a delicious menu.  Even they know about it; their gift cards say “you deserve better.”

Photo by Daniel Chia
Even The Other Door’s gift cards acknowledge their reputation for being a better Chipotle.