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1660 E. Camelback Road, Suite 185, Phoenix
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This Colorado-based, Mexican-inspired fast food chain is so much better than the competition, it shouldn't even be labeled fast food — except that it IS fast. Founder Steve Ells has created a concept built around the notion of Food With Integrity, which means that his restaurants use as many environmentally sustainable, naturally raised or grown products as possible. Most of Chipotle's beef, pork and chicken (some 40 million pounds last year) comes from hormone-free, antibiotic-free, humanely raised animals. The restaurant's cheese and sour cream are made from cow's milk that has not been treated with rBGH, a synthetic hormone that stimulates milk production. And 25% of the beans Chipotle uses are organically grown, a number that will increase as more organic beans become available. Additionally, Chipotle eliminated trans-fats in 2004, long before that practice became an industry standard. But of course, none of these environmentally correct, nutritionally sound virtues would matter to us much if the food weren't actually tasty. But it's amazingly good — the crunchy chips, made with fresh lime and sea salt; the zesty salsas, the guacamole, made fresh throughout the day. Great salads, juicy grilled meats (try the carnitas and the barbacoa), and, in another nod to the health-conscious, burrito fixings without the tortilla! Trust me, being good to yourself has never been easier or more delicious. Lunch and dinner daily. $