To kick off 2013, we decided to set out on an important mission: Project Globally Inspired. We started with a trip to Buffalo, to learn more about the origins of one of our most famous items… The Buffalo burrito, of course! Throughout the year, we planned trips from Bangkok to Tokyo, from Memphis to New Orleans – all to research the inspiration behind our menu items and to share the stories with our guests.
Since we were feeling adventurous, we also decided to take it a step further with what we called CIA: Culinary Investigation Assignment. People were starting to care more and more about where their food came from – and for good reason! With the rise of agribusiness, somehow growth hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides have found their way into our food supply. Well, not at boloco. We wanted to track down where our ingredients came from, investigate the integrity behind them, and interview our suppliers to learn more about the quality as well.
The tragic events of 2013’s Boston Marathon marked a difficult time for our team members, their families, our Boston community, and our country. Since Boston is our home, we’ve always held the Boston Marathon close to our hearts. We looked to help in our own small way, donating food to those in need, contributing to the One Fund, and coming together as a family. We are proud to be and forever remain Boston Strong.
In April, the world’s first (unverified) burrito drive-thru opened as part of our new location in Warwick, Rhode Island (#21) – that’s near Providence. Because it’s the world’s first burrito drive-thru, it’s also the world’s fastest burrito drive-thru with the world’s greatest drive-thru customer service. Plus, it’s the world’s most accurate burrito drive-thru. It pretty much is the best at everything as far as burrito drive-thrus go… 😉
In May, we took the Airstream on the road and road tripped from our home in Boston, MA down to our new(ish) restaurant in Washington, DC, as we followed the Ride on Washington cyclists. The incredible team, led by Tim Johnson, rode 400+ miles over the course of five days. We celebrated the efforts of the cyclists in the nation’s capital with burritos at boloco 19th Street.
That summer, we embraced our “globally inspired” mantra and introduced four Middle Eastern menu items– the Jaffa Falafel burrito, the Kale-Quinoa bowl, pita chips, and a Lemon Mint Slush. Although they were only around for a limited time, they definitely made an impression on our guests (fast forward a few years later, we’re still getting falafel requests…).
Although 2013 brought lots of exciting changes, there were some challenging ones as well. In the beginning of the summer, we said goodbye to our friends in Medford and finally closed the doors of our Tufts University location. However, our friends Jason Hutchinson and Adam Liebman took over the location and turned it into a cafe called Tamper – check it out at tampercafe.com! We were glad we were able to pass the location on to longtime friends and members of Team boloco.
To make up for one location closing, we decided it was time to open another! In September we opened a Lynnfield (#22) at MarketStreet in Lynnfield, MA. Located twenty minutes outside of Boston, this is another adventure and foray into the suburbs for us.
That October brought some big changes at boloco. Our longtime CEO, John Pepper, stepped down from his position. In an attempt to do what he felt was best for boloco, he offered an ultimatum to our owners: accept an outside investment or accept his resignation. They rejected the deal and accepted his resignation. In John’s words, he “walked the proverbial plank and sadly never got to get back on [the] boat.” While John is no longer sitting beside us at boloco HQ every day, he is still integral to who we are and what we do and remains involved as part owner, friend, advisor, and the most enthusiastic fan of Buffalo steak burritos.
In November, we cheered on the Boston Red Sox, along with the rest of our great city. Thanks to their first win on home turf since 1918, we dropped the “globally” and decided to just be Boston Inspired Burritos for a few days. We also offered a Red Sox-inspired discount and enjoyed our view of the parade from the windows of boloco HQ.
For the holidays, we welcomed some seasonal friends back to the menu. The Late November and the Pumpkin Shake came back for a few months and, in December, we offered our “Naughty or Nice” gift card promo – all in all, a fairly normal and quiet holiday season at boloco. Although maybe we needed it, since we had BIG plans for January…