Now serving: campus gentrification

For those of you looking for disappointment, you need look no further than the dining options around campus. Right now the scene is OK, but it is getting dimmer, especially if you enjoy good home-cooked food.

Yes, a new and powerful option is due to arrive soon: Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Bad dining experiences happen to people on a regular basis, and fast food is definitely a place where expectations are not held high. Having dined in a local Chipotle restaurant, it is needless to say I was quite disappointed.

When asked how the menu works, the representative behind he counter sighed and gave the standard robotic explanation slated for newbies like me. Like a Subway-style assembly area stuffed into a giant blender, the processes that lead to the creation of my burrito seemed chaotic at best. But the icing on the cake was the price, which didn’t exactly put my burrito in the “worth it” category.

If you have not noticed yet, the northwest corner of The Broadway is slowly being infected with this monstrous virus that will soon parasitize the University District. It will grow and thrive off the dollars of its curious patrons, sucking away valuable resources from the small businesses nearby.

Chipotle, which is majority-owned by McDonald’s Corp., will slowly starve the competition to extinction, leaving the campus’ dwindling dining options to a mere handful. One of these, not so ironically, is McDonald’s. Back in 2002, McDonald’s Corp. executives told shareholders that they intend to aggressively expand Chipotle restaurants nationwide to boost sales growth. The manifestation of this promise is now taking over a corner of a university building and there is nothing we can do about it.

Students may not have a say in where a restaurant conducts business, but we have an opportunity to vote. Not directly, but since this parasitic being craves the sweet green nutrients in our wallets, collectively we can chose to feed or starve this creature.

Do not think that your passive boycott of an establishment will be futile. The impact of the dollar is powerful.

Remember the Arby’s on Hawthorne? Gone. It got choked out of existence by wise customers. Put your money where your mouth is and make your dining decision wisely. Cast your vote every day at lunch by patronizing locally owned and operated businesses. A dollar spent at Chipotle is a dollar for McDonald’s and a vote for fat cats running large corporations.

Mosey on over to businesses like Cha Cha Cha if you want Mexican food. Need a beer with lunch? Head over to the aforementioned Cha Cha Cha, the Cheerful Tortoise, Hot Lips Pizza, Pizzacato or Thanh Long to name a few.

But be aware. Your decision, as subtle as it seems, will ultimately shape the future of our campus and send a message to world as to what we will and will not tolerate, even if it is only lunch.

Seth Lewin can be reached at [email protected]