December 22, 2009
Eric Villard

hvidnobusinessThe void left by Hollywood Video at 1325 Liberty Rd. will soon be filled by a brand new Mexican restaurant - Qdoba Mexican Grill.

The business center has seen decreased traffic since the closing of Hollywood Video, which took up about half of the retail space present. The strip center has several other tenants, including Papa John’s, M&T Bank, and a dry cleaner.

Qdoba Mexican Grill

Qdoba Mexican Grill specializes in traditional Mexican food using fresh ingredients. The restaurant is categorized as a fast-casual eatery, offering quick service in a sit-down atmosphere. At Qdoba the handcrafted, highly-customizable meal is prepared in plain sight of the customers. Whereas other fast-casual restaurants may not encourage customization of personalization of their food, Qdoba promises such customer control is what makes the food so good. Qdoba also offers online ordering at certain locations.

The Qdoba company was founded in 1995 and today spans 42 states with more than 480 restaurants. Maryland has about 13 Qdoba restaurants, most nestled around Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Within 20 miles of here there are four grills, including one in Ellicott City and another in Owings Mills. The Eldersburg location will be the westernmost restaurant in the franchise in Maryland. See Qdoba on Facebook, or take a look at its Twitter feed or YouTube channel.

Menu

Qdoba offers a traditional menu of Mexican food, though they seem to specialize in creating made-to-order burritos. Some of their signature burritos include the Queso Burrito, which offers a three-cheese blend; the Poblano Pesto Burrito, which offers poblano peppers, jalapeños, cilantro, almonds and pine nuts; and the Ancho Chile BBQ Burrito, which has a sweet BBQ sauce mixed with chilies and mesquite. Other burrito topping options include grilled chicken, pulled pork, shredded beef, grilled steak, seasoned ground beef, and vegetarian options. One might say the restaurant has an unhealthy fascination with the burrito.

In addition to burritos Qdoba also serves similar made-to-order tacos (hard and soft-shelled), taco salads (in a tortilla bowl), nachos, quesadillas, and tortilla soup. The restaurant also offers breakfast items at certain locations, including breakfast burritos and quesadillas with options of grilled chicken, sausage and egg and cheese.

Competition?

The only other Mexican restaurants within Eldersburg that are considerable fast-casual are La Fiesta, located in the Princess Shopping Center at 1207 Liberty Rd., and Plazuelas, located in the old Best China Buffet building at 1834 Liberty Rd.

Plazeulas has received mostly good reviews from patrons, earning a five star rating on Google’s restaurant review search, while La Fiesta has not been so lucky, earning only two and a half stars. Both ratings were generated from a similar number of reviews.

Plazuela’s patrons wrote:

- User alias Tommybear: “Plazuelas is the best Mexican Restaurant that I have eaten in for such a long time. The food is served hot and fresh, mild in flavor, you can always add, but can't take away.”

- Brian said: “No, everything doesn't come with a huge glop of sour cream and a 'scoop' of sweet corn bread, and the dishes aren't overrun with melted cheese, either. Instead, the dishes on the menu are simple, yet extremely tasty.”

- User alias Luvmyjake: “I went to Plazuelas for the first time on my birthday and I was very pleased. The restaurant was very clean, the service was great and the food was perfect.”

La Fiesta patrons wrote:

- Katie said: “Clean restaurant and nice wait staff. However, the food was not good or authentic by any means. The meat was obviously pre-made and seasoned. It was overpriced. I would never go back.”

- Kelly V. said: “I would not recommend this restaurant. The food tastes like a glorified Taco Bell. It is pretty expensive for the quality. It is not really authentic Mexican. The flavors were bland and cheap tasting.”

- Kim B. said: “The food is just so-so. It is something you could prepare yourself. But if you are in the mood for Mexican and don't feel like cooking it is a quick meal.”


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