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Welcome To Moe's Southwest Grill

From Phil in Miami:

Advertising works. Moe's is the first burrito joint I've ever visited based on a radio spot. They continually play the Moe's ad on my classic rock station in Miami. It begins with a crowd of people shouting, "Welcome to Moe's!" The ad claims not only that they have great burritos, but that every time you walk into one of their stores, you will be greeted by dozens of employees and patrons yelling at you. Well, how could I pass that up?

They had some award on the door when I entered. I think it was from one of the local papers for best burrito. I try not to put too much stock in those things. Seems like every other store has some award for best hamburger since the birth of Jesus, or what have you. Still, it's always an encouraging sign.

I stepped inside, no one yelled anything at me. That's fine, I wasn't really looking forward to that part.

The menu weirded me out a little. All the items had bizarre names that I didn't get like "Joey Bag of Donuts," "The Ugly Naked Guy," and "Pinky Tuscadero." In fact the menu described the odd name choice as "Nothing fancy, just names that made Moe laugh." The menu also point out Moe's 30 some-odd Florida locations as well as locations throughout the Southeast, the West, the Midwest, and the Northeast. In fact, there is a Moe's Southwest Grill in 32 states plus the District of Columbia. That made me a little weary, but I tried not to hold it against them. Anyway, it was way passed lunch time.

Check out the official Moe's Southwest Grill site here, if you're bored, or click on our menu images for a larger size.

This entry is filed in Moe's Southwest Grill.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 by Phil.


I read the Moe's menu. Beans on a taco? If you put beans on a taco in LA you will get your a-- kicked.

I'm also wary of buying mexican fare from a bloke named Moe.

Next time you are in LA try the all meat carne asada burrito at King Taco.

Posted by: Bandini at September 14, 2005 05:48 AM

It is always funny to me what some people like and how it compares to others.
I'm out in Manhattan Beach, CA, and there are no Moe's in sight. I think the closest is 30 something miles, which is just too much for a burrito run.
However, I've tried the Chipotle and Qdoba here, and I have to say: what gives with sticky white rice in a burrito? I expect sticky white rice with my Chinese food, but not with my mexican (or psuedo-mexican if you prefer).
What I also can't figure out with Chipotle and Qdoba is this: Where's the extra freshly chopped cilantro to add to my burrito? Where's the chopped jalepenos? Where's the "extra" type items that make a burrito more than just rice, beans, and meat?
Moe's is the only one of those three that I know of that has fresh cilantro to add to your food, fresh chopped jalepenos, onions, black olives, and a mexican style rice instead of white sticky rice.
And finally, I go to find the really good mexican style hot sauce for my burrito, and Chipotle and Qdoba offer Tabasco sauce. Huh? I'm supposed to use Lousiana style hot sauce on my burrito? That's just ludicrous. At least Moe's offers actual mexican-style hot sauces (even if you put them on your-self afterwards). I'm a fan of just biting the top off the burrito and pouring a little of the medium sauce into the burrito for each bite. Works great, and keeps the burrito from leaking sauce from the bottom while I eat.
And, just to top it off, out of 3 trips to Chipotle and 2 to Qdoba out here, they've wrapped the burrito wrong 4 total times. 4 times I picked up the burrito only to have it fall apart. Worst part is I saw them screw it up when they did it, and asked them to fix it, and they said it would be fine. Out of dozens of times eating at Moe's, I've only had the problem once. And twice when it looked like the burrito either ripped or wasn't wrapped right and I asked them about it, they actually made me a whole new one instead of trying to "fix" it, since you can never really fix a burrito.
Also, while I'm not positive, I believe that Moe's is cheaper than both Qdoba (maybe) and Chipotle (definitely), is the only one of the three to offer tofu as a "meat" choice, and is also the only one that provides chips with your meal.
Now I'm not saying that the Moe's you ate at didn't suck, or the Chipotle's you've been to aren't possibly better than the one I have here, but just wanted to give a different experience.
I sure miss Moe's out here, and would trade the Chipotle and Qdoba for them any day.

Posted by: Joe at January 27, 2006 02:52 PM

I work at Moes and its awesome and we keep everything really clean there!!!

Posted by: lesley at May 3, 2006 07:31 PM

I eat at moes in falls church VA roughly once a week. I have lived in Texas, california, florida, alabama, virginia, nevada, and spain. I have traveled to arizona, new mexico, all over texas, lousiana, georgia...blah blah blah. I have eaten thousands of burritos. Moes gets it right every time. Fresh ingredients, deliciously marniated steak and chicken, mexican style rice, fresh chips, five differnt salsas for your burrito and white-queso dip that is so silky and delicious i have dreams about it. Plus the extras like fresh chopped onions, olives, cilantro, jalepeno relish, hot sauce, they steam the tortilla instead of grill pressingso it hold together as you enjoy your cold beer...what more need i say. Get the queso on the homewrecker burrito! bon appetit

Posted by: jeff at June 25, 2006 11:57 PM

I grew up in Miami, where I only knew of one Moe’s restaurant location; I never went and ate there (it was really far away from where I lived so I hardly went by that way). At Georgia Tech, though, they have a Moe’s right on the edge of campus and the first time I tried it I thought it was great. I usually ate there (while on campus) twice a month or so. Every time was a great meal, and I always came out full.

One thing I notice about their food that makes it so good is, EVERY ingredient is full of flavor. I am living in Florence, KY for a few months and I’ve recently tried Qdoba and Chipotle a few times (first times for both places). There’s something inherently wrong with the food at these places. I ordered the same meal at both (Burrito with Steak, Rice, Beans, Lettuce, Salsa, Tomato, Cheese, Sour Cream, little bit of Guacamole) and at both the ingredients were just plain substandard when compared to Chipotle’s and Qdoba’s. The meat was okay in both cases, but the rice at Qdoba and Chipotle is plain white rice with zero flavor. That is a huge taste difference to me. The salsa at these two places are awful. It’s just chopped tomatoes basically!! There’s no salsa sauce-action going on! The next closest thing to regular salsa is their spicy salsas, but for some people that’s too spicy. Personally, I like doing what ^Joe^ said before me, to put salsa on the burrito before each bite. That just…..seals the flavor. (Aside: Everything Joe said is true)

Moe’s ingredients do seem fresher, and they seem closer to real Spanish food (yellow rice vs. white, real salsa vs. chopped tomatoes, umm 3-colored tortilla chips vs. only 1 color). It tastes better.

I don’t think I’ll be going back to Chipotle or Qdoba for a while (barring immense peer pressure). To be fair, price-wise all three places are about the same, and you get the same amount of food pretty much (for a burrito/homewrecker). But if you want to feel like every bite is worth the money, go to Moe’s if you can help it. I sure will. I have found that I’d rather highway drive for 15 min. (each way) to go get some food from a Moe’s at a mall near Cincinnati than spend the same money at a Chipotle/Qdoba a minute from my apartment. At the very least, try all three so you can judge for yourself. It will make you appreciate the one you like the most, better.

Posted by: Michael Fischer at June 28, 2006 04:52 PM

I've eaten at Moe's in Suburban Philadelphia (Roxborough) and found it not only very bland and non-tasty, but also acquired food poisoning from it. Another person who ate the same chicken burrito I did suffered the same problem, so we know it was Moe's. The place itself was a pigsty and mostly empty.

I'll never eat at a Moe's again.

For my burrito fix from a fast food joint, you can't beat Baja Fresh.

Posted by: Michael Reeves at January 24, 2007 11:43 AM

The comments on your blog regarding the man from Florida that is paralyzed from eating at Moes is a true story. It is my uncle!

He didn't blame it on the burrito - it was from the chicken in the burrito. (same difference)

I think its crazy that you can make fun of something like that.

My uncle didn't ask to be sick nor did he ask for his whole world to be turned upside down.

Picture yourself living a normal life and than one day not being able to walk, eat on your own, go to the bathroom or shower on your own or enjoy the things you once enjoyed in life.

My uncle is confined to a wheelchair, lost his job and his abilities to perform daily activities of living; all from eating something that caused him to get sick.

Posted by: Kelly Brown at March 2, 2007 04:10 PM

This was posted in a similar forum regarding this incident:

I've been looking through these comments, and was hoping that I could add some points of value here. As a self-entitled burrito-connoisseur, I'm constantly trying different fast-causal burrito restaurants. I've frequented Moe's on several occasions, and will be comparing it to a restaurant of similar concept but far superior quality: and that is Willy’s California-style Burrito out of Atlanta Ga.

Being from Atlanta and having grown up on Willy's, I grew fond of their product as well as their process as well.

Moe’s is missing a vital step in their meat prep methodology, and that is CHAR-GRILLING their meats before they even make it to the "flat top" grille. They don't Char Grille their meats for what I can only assume is their efforts to save on Cost of Sale. I'm speculating that most of Moe's sites get their meats in bags that are frozen, and pre cut into chunks. If you look behind their line you won’t even see a Char Grille.

Moe’s process requires that an employee cook a raw product to it’s completion in a live point-to-point service environment. This is extremely scary to me. This means that some kid making 5.50 an hour can be responsible for making me sick or not.

Willy’s process handles their entire raw product before the store is even open. They marinate their steak and chicken breast over night, and they Char cook it to completion. This gives their incredible char grille fire taste as well, which is inherently lacking in Moe’s meats. Only after its char grilled is it later “re-heated” on the flat grille when marinade is applied.

So it just seems to me that Moe’s is some feeble attempt at a knock off: hopefully you all can draw your own conclusions based on the information I’ve provided.


Posted by: alexander at March 10, 2007 12:58 PM

I miss moe's oh so much.
I always ordered the same ting - I think the taste is in adding the black beans vs. refried.

Posted by: N3rd at July 10, 2007 02:15 PM

Lots of differing opinions already here, but I had to throw my 2 cents in as well. I find Willy's to be far, far superior to Moe's. The meats are fresher, tastier and there are more meat options than at Moe's. Willy's cheese is better and their salsa is very fresh and tasty. Moe's has a McDonald's-like quality to it - everything tastes heavily processed and over-flavored. Not fresh. The tomatillo salsa at Moes is always brown and looks/tastes like it was made last week. The salsa at Willy's always tastes like they just made it.

To each their own, but Willy's scores big points with me on freshness, taste and a consistently good experience.

Posted by: Jay Gee at August 6, 2007 02:12 PM

As someone who worked at the Ohio State University Moe's not all that long ago, after the first half hour of yelling "Welcom to Moes" each night I wanted to kill myself. The food where I was was real fresh though, and I got fat working there. . .


Posted by: TomC at September 9, 2007 02:39 AM

I gotta say I eat at the Moe's restaurants in Norfolk and Virginia Beach VA (Lynnhaven) at least 5 times per week. My entire office is addicted to Moe's. I've tried Qdoba, Salsarita's, Chipotle and Pancheros. Moe's beats them all hands down. I hear Pancheros is coming to this area. Good Luck Pancheros. I never see lines at the competition like I see at Moe's. These guys got it going on!!!!

Posted by: Bill Watson at September 11, 2007 07:59 PM

Have one near UT Austin. When they actually HAVE the fish, the fish tacos are pretty darn good. But Moe's sucks because they don't have a fish BURRITO. Man, that would be heaven.

Posted by: akb at November 5, 2007 08:00 PM

Hey I live in Annapolis Maryland. We have a Moe's in downtown Annapolis, its great... I love it. I try to go there every Monday, because on Monday's we have something called Moe Mondays. You get any burrito, drink, and chips all for $5.99. Great deal, I love Moe's...


Posted by: Brandon at November 26, 2007 02:43 PM

I ate at Moe's in Lakeland, FL (north side) for lunch today.
First time. I had the "home wrecker" steak burrito.
It was not very good. I can usually eat anything. 10 hours later, I'm blowing chunks of burrito. I can say that it did taste better going down, but not by much.

I don't remember ever being this sick. I just wanted to post this in case I don't live through the night (half joking).

I will NEVER EVER eat at Moe's again. If they offered me free lifetime food, I would never set foot in the place again. I mean, what are the odds of getting food poisoning on your very first visit to a particular restaurant chain?

Posted by: Bob Bedford at December 12, 2007 10:42 PM

I've been to Anna's tons of times and it doesn't even come close to the flavors at Moe's.

Posted by: Jeff at January 20, 2008 05:38 PM

As someone who lived in Atlanta for over a decade, I must chime in. I echo the other commenters views that Willy's burritos (I believe the full name is Willy's Mexicana) is far superior to Moe's. I and many of my friends will actually tell you that Moe's is a cut BELOW taco bell. Honestly, you'd have to look long and hard at franchise burrito chains to find a burrito worse than Moes.

Moe's used to have those toxic blue/red tortilla chips. They sell nasty slushy drinks from a frozen margarita machine. The meats all taste gritty and are way over salted. The tortillas taste processed. The salad and cheese are dry and both are likely pre-shredded. I'm about 99% sure willy's uses Pace picante sauce from a plastic tub.

Willy's uses only fresh ingredients and spend their time and money there. All meats are fresh, they have tons of toppings (fresh cilantro, fresh roasted peppers, both fresh and pickled jalapenos, to name a few) They also fry their own chips daily. No gimmicks, no wacky names, just great food. Try the Charolitas, which are mini tortillas, steak, with onions, slaw, fresh lime, and a salsa sauce. They're outstanding.

Moe's is all about franchising, decoration on the walls, and being clever. If you think the show "Friends" was the greatest thing ever on TV, you'll probably love Moe's, since they go for the same super-mainstream feel.

Allegedly (I don't have confirmation but have heard this several times), the founder of Moe's formerly a Willy's employee and left because the Willy's didn't want to franchise. The Willy's founder wanted to keep up the quality of the food. The Moe's guy stole the business model and put together a chain. You buy the crazy signs and you hire a bunch of people to yell "welcome to moe's". For this reason, there is a huge difference in size and quality of food from one Moe's to the next (though none is ever better than Mediocre).

Besides being fresher, Willy's is cheaper.

Ok, enough Moe's bashing (well, there's never enough. Someone should log onto the Wikipedia article they wrote themselves and set the record straight).

I used to eat at QDoba too. Their food is a cut better than Moe's. I don't like their burritos as much as Chipolte. Finally, why do I have to pay extra for chips at Chipolte? How much do chips cost? Free? Generally, I think Chipolte puts way, way too much rice in their burritos. And what's up with the sticky white rice?

Posted by: JV at April 9, 2008 11:46 AM

I eat at moes in falls church VA roughly once a week.I don't remember ever being this sick. I just wanted to post this in case I don't live through the night (half joking).

Posted by: frankie at July 4, 2008 09:56 PM

has anyone else gotten sick from eating at Moe's?

Posted by: C-lo at July 7, 2008 03:00 PM

That was a terrible review, you didnt even say how you thought the food was

Posted by: Ryan at January 28, 2009 04:22 PM

When in NYC -
19th st btwn 5th & 6th
-steak california burrito-
grilled steak,rice,pinto beans,lettuce,tomato,cheese
onion,sour cream,cilantro & tapatio
When in Santa Monica, CA -

Posted by: The Carne Insada at February 3, 2009 10:33 AM

I ordered and paided for a john coctostan and ruprict to go. I got the ruprict however another customer got my john coctostan an returned it after opening it from the dining area. I told the lady that was bagging the returned and opened food that I did not want the food that was given to another customer and opened. No one offered to return my money or give me new one. So I left. I called the store and asked them not to charge me for food I never got but I heard someone tell the person I was talking to say that he did not care! and I should drive back to swipe the card! nice really nice

Posted by: texan at April 1, 2009 07:52 PM