iPhone app? Yeah, we got one (finally). And it was pretty dang cool, too. But nobody used it. That’s ok, it was a start. Nothing was built in a day.
Copley Square (#17) finally opened. Its Free Burrito Day in early February drew lines down to Clarendon Street, and, in the end, over 3,000 brave souls waited for up to 45 minutes for free burritos. A group of second year students at the Tuck School of Business published a paper on the magic powers of the word “free.” We think free is amazing and the line at Free Burrito Day proved that once again.
We celebrated our 14th birthday with 14 Days of Inspired Specials. After more than a decade of serving darn good guac, we decided it was time to step it up. If we weren’t making it fresh every single day, then we couldn’t really stand behind it. We took matters into our own hands (literally) and and started making our guacamole 100% from scratch. Our NEW inspired blend is made with avocado, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, and salt.
We finally gave up the fight to be different, unique, and inspired. On April 1, we announced a name change to Chipdoba… if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. As always, we fooled too many people on this special day and endured the insults and thrown stones of hundreds.
After agreeing to donate 200 burritos to the city for a celebration of the city’s biking accomplishments, our friends at the Inspectional Services Department at 1010 Mass Ave (see also “The City”) called one of our restaurants less than an hour before the announcement and demanded that a permit be produced or our Federal Street location would be shut down. After a tense 15 minutes of debate (that’s as PC as we can put it), head chef Jason Hutchinson stripped his chef’s coat off and scrambled to 1010 and back to City Hall Plaza in the nick of time. Burritos were served and people were happy, but it was time for a business to speak up… in less than 140 characters, of course. “How a city can thank businesses for supporting its civic efforts with rudeness, threats, and disrespect has us reeling right now” said the tweet. And the Facebook contest that followed soon after asked for people (with the incentive of a magical free burrito) to show the city how to properly say “thank you” by publicly thanking those they love, owe, and cherish. And thank they did!
To make a very long and unnecessarily pathetic story short(ish), the story hit the front page of the Boston Globe 36 hours later. The Globe staff editorial published a piece 72 hours after that entitled “At his own peril, burrito maker takes on the Big Enchilada” and called for an apology from the Mayor on behalf of the city. While no apology was ever issued, we continue to happily donate burritos to great causes, including biking events at City Hall Plaza. And for the record… we always get our permits.
We’re straight shooters. We call it like it is. And despite the fact that we get compared to every Mexican joint this side of the Mississippi, we are not, never have been, and never will be Mexican food (except for that hot second on April Fools’ Day when we changed our name to Chipdoba). But what about the Classic Mexican burrito, you ask? Okay, it’s true that about 18% of what boloco offers is Mexican-inspired and everything wrapped in a tortilla goes in the “kinda Mexican” category. But boloco is globally inspired. Trendy sounding? Yep, we know… we’ve heard that before. But we don’t know any better way to put it. All that being said, when Cinco de Mayo rolls around every year, should we take cover and wish the day away for fear we’ll be called out as Mexican impostors?
The answer is HECK NO. In fact, in 2011, we celebrated by putting our friend, the Yucatan Habanero, on a pedestal. The Yucatan was grounded in Mexican culinary tradition, with tangy pickled onions, black beans, sour cream, boloco rice, and, of course, our fiery hot habanero salsa.
As the weather turned to warm, we introduced to the world (or, at least New England) two new inspired flavors: the Spicy BLT and the Korean BBQ. We were told by a few burrito-eating connoisseurs that the Korean BBQ packed a serious punch and the Spicy BLT was an awesome twist on a classic with its smoky chipotle mayo. These friends stuck around for a while and flags were raised at half-mast when they were later taken off the menu.
The first Twitter firing ever took place — a “twiring,” some called it. But for the record, nobody was actually fired. A tired team member tweeted after work one day that his job at boloco sucked. John Pepper tweeted back “not anymore,” but forgot to include a smiley face, winky face, or any other indication that it was a joke. He later followed up with a Twitter-based apology (but no one made a fun combo word for that).
After some serious research (on important stuff like which organic chocolate milk tastes better) and lots of feedback from the experts (hungry kids), we finally developed a delicious kids menu! We filled it with all kinds of mini goodness that kids were sure to enjoy (like cookies and strawberry shakes) and that parents approve (like organic applesauce from Vermont and steamed broccoli). And for good measure, we included little packs of crayons too.
Our second location on Congress Street in Boston opened at Atlantic Wharf (#18) in December, next to Jody Adam’s new but already legendary Trade, as well as some other fine neighbors. With four self-service kiosks and two traditional cash registers, Atlantic Wharf was made to serve incredible food personally and faster than ever. After a few bumps and stumbles in the early weeks and a ton of free burritos given out as apologies, the team seemed to find its footing.
That is, until one of our team members decided to steal a customer’s wallet in plain view of our new and super sleuth cameras. Yeah, that sucked. But we called the cops. Got the wallet back. And now the team really is on solid footing, and you can take your hand off your wallet. Promise.
We signed two leases in Washington, DC. Nation’s Capital, here we come… in Summer 2012. As we agreed to the most staggering rents ever, we reminded ourselves that there was no recession in DC. There was no recession in DC. There was no recession in DC.