Spend 90 Minutes with the Chipotle Boys

It was a Monday afternoon in New York and I went to Chipotle during the lunch rush. I'm surrounded by a crowd of men in button-down shirts and black pants, their AirPods tightly connected. Many people tapped their phones while waiting in line, avoiding human contact, and muttered their orders to staff members who hurriedly scooped chicken, rice and corn into takeout paper bowls (read: troughs). Even though there are a lot of women here, there's a distinct vibe here: This is a Very Masculine Space™. Everywhere you look on the Internet, there are so-called “Chipotle Boys.”

What is Chipotle Boy? New York writer Jackson McHenry wrote last week on Jalapeño Boy, “Jalapeño Boy is everywhere. “They choose convenience over novelty, speed over style.

The post resonated with quite a few people, many of whom responded with quips like "This is literally every man between the ages of 18-28" and "Someone has to teach boys how to season + give them Buy a rice cooker, maybe a federal program.”

Many people online simultaneously bemoaned the decline of Chipotle and its shrinking portion sizes—“the quality’s gone, but the prices have gone up,” TikTok user Jeanine Amapola said in a viral video in July 2023. (Representatives insist portion sizes remain the same.) However, the company's stock has increased in value by nearly 50% since last year, and based on the scene before me, a long line of apparently very busy Chipotle Boys practically ran out of the double doors , and I'm starting to understand why.

"My office is upstairs"

Many of the men I spoke to while waiting in line at the West 48th Street store had eaten there multiple times during their workdays. John, 24, is a self-described “Chipotle super advocate” who works in finance. He enjoys eating white rice, pinto beans, steak, hot salsa, sour cream and cheese at least three times a week. Why? "It's simple, a little cheap, and fast," John said. Without any extras like guacamole or chips, a classic Chipotle chicken, steak or al Pastor burrito bowl costs about $13, depending on where you live.

Several diners I spoke with praised Chipotle's ability to, as John puts it, "check all the boxes": convenience, quick assembly and nutritional value. After all, who needs variety when you have the intoxicating promise of optimization?

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“My office is upstairs, so it’s convenient for me,” said Sosa, 27, who also works in finance. "I always eat it at my desk." Like Sosa, many of the Chipotle Boys only walk a few blocks to get there (with 57 locations within 22.8 square miles of Manhattan, the financial bros don't have to go far ) and planned to bring back food. They continued to look at the spreadsheet as they ate, the black Lenovo monitor glowing with a brilliant blue light.

Others, on the other hand, use Chipotle as an excuse to get out of the office and enjoy a brief, blissful moment. “The worst thing about American lunch culture is eating at your desk,” said Addy, 39, who works in finance and was enjoying a bowl and order of chips at a restaurant. "It's frustrating." Maybe for some, Chipotle is a beacon of hope? Even the simple act of walking to a restaurant in the fresh air can be a nice change of scenery in your cubicle.

“Gym boys tend to be jalapeño boys”

Others pointed out that Chipotle is biased toward protein, which explains the huge crossover with fitness enthusiasts. “I’m into fitness, so I like to see what I’m eating,” said Kevin, a 41-year-old engineer who visits the location at least a few times a week. Jake*, 30, a trainer, recommends the chain to clients interested in macro counting. "Gymnastics boys tend to be Chipotle boys," he said.

Perhaps the most extreme example is Brooklyn Nets player Mikal Bridges, who claims he has been ordering Chipotle every day for about 10 years. "It doesn't get too hot every time," he told GQ Sports in December.

Who needs variety when you have the intoxicating promise of optimization?

In fact, the Venn diagram of Chipotle Boys and Gym Bros was so powerful that it crossed state lines and became a national phenomenon. While thinking about the prototype, Jeffrey, a 26-year-old fan, said over the phone, "I thought about the tech bros working around Chipotle 'trying to get these macros.'" They like to take LSD in the desert and talk about their time abroad. summer. The software engineer commutes between jobs and lives out of his Tesla, which at press time was charging in a Chipotle parking lot in Arizona. When asked what he prefers besides chains, he Mentioned girlfriends and hiking.

"Just letting people enjoy things"

Rising prices and declining quality haven't stopped Peter, a 24-year-old writer, from promoting the brand to friends and online. "I really love Chipotle," he said. (He does warn that steak is overcooked about 1 out of every 8 visits, and that chicken is a more reliable choice.)

While some wear the "Chipotle Boy" moniker like a badge of honor, others say the moniker doesn't hold much depth at all. “Just let people enjoy everything,” said Buddy, a 25-year-old Virginia law student who orders chicken bowls twice a week. Sometimes, I have too much to cook," he said. "There's nothing more. "

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The emergence of the Chipotle Boy hashtag prompted a rethinking of what it means to be a lunching man in this day and age. In this productivity-focused culture, the modern state of American masculinity seems to mean that fast-casual food is chosen for efficiency and life-sustaining nutrition, not necessarily for enjoyment. This begs the question: Where is their desire for life? For the taste? For beauty? does it matter?

Maybe. "I ordered a chicken bowl and tacos. That way I could use half the bowl to make burritos and the next day I could eat the other half," said Carr, 23, who works in advertising and goes to school nearly every day I eat like this on my way to get off work. When he saw Chipotle Boy's post, he laughed and said he felt "exposed." “I do eat here a lot,” he said. "It made me wonder if I should change things up and get a new personality."

*Names have been changed for privacy reasons.