Chipotle Mexican Grill’s vegan Sofritas come to Vancouver

Chipotle braised tofu Sofritas

Holy tofu, Chipotle actually has a decent vegan burrito. (Stephen Hui)

You don’t normally see the vegan symbol on the menu boards of fast-food restaurants. But that’s what you’ll find at Chipotle Mexican Grill—at least at the chain’s West Coast locations, including the one in Vancouver.

This week, Chipotle introduced its braised tofu Sofritas to the Pacific Northwest, after rolling out the vegan option in California earlier this year. Made with organic tofu, chipotle chilis, roasted poblanos, and spices, this filling can be ordered with burritos, tacos, bowls, and salads.

Naturally, I headed to Chipotle’s only location in Vancouver to check it out. Located at 818 Howe Street, the joint appears to be popular with the suit-wearing business crowd.

I ordered a burrito with Sofritas, brown rice, black beans, salsa, and guacamole. Unfortunately, there are no vegan cheese or sour cream options, and the pinto beans are cooked with bacon.

Burritos, tacos, bowls, and salads cost $8.95 each, but the guacamole is $2.21 extra, so my total before tax was $11.16. Needless to say, this isn’t cheap fast food.

Nevertheless, my burrito was large and filling, and the combination of flavours was satisfying. I wasn’t particularly blown away by the Sofritas, but they do make for a tastier meal than any vegan option you’ll find at Subway. (They also won’t leave that gross Subway smell on your hands. What is that?)

Chipotle started up in 1993 with a single restaurant in Denver, and was once a subsidiary of McDonald’s Corporation (yes, that McDonald’s). Its downtown Vancouver location is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

By the way, if you don’t like the Sofritas, you can order Chipotle’s veggie burrito or taco instead. In any case, the vegan version of the Henry at Budgie’s Burritos (44 Kingsway) remains my favourite burrito in town.

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