Lately, I feel like every time I go up by the University Mall in Orem there is a new restaurant or store. It’s almost hard to keep up with the ongoing changes on top of the hill. For those of you who are a little late to the party, like I often am, a couple of months ago Chipotle Mexican Grill was one of the new arrivals.

For those not familiar with this long-standing restaurant chain, it’s all about freshness, fast service and food the way you want it. Even the pricing structure is designed to give you what you personally want. The price is determined on the meat and whether you pick to have it in the form of a burrito, salad, tacos or a bowl doesn’t change it. Pretty neat if you ask me.

So the Lunch Ladies decided to head up the hill and give the recently opened restaurant a try and see if this location lived up to the Chipotle name. We entered the restaurant, surprised at how full the buzzing eatery was, and got in the fast moving line.

As we stood in line, chatting about our day, it was fun to note how many nearby people we could hear voicing their excitement that the restaurant was now in Orem. It was like we had walked into an ongoing infomercial with volunteered viewers proclaiming their devotion to the product. And no, I was not intentionally eavesdropping, you and I both know how loud foodies can be, especially when they are both excited and hungry!

It eventually became our turn to head down the food assembly line and have our custom-made meals created. Here is what the Lunch Ladies ordered:

Jennette: Burrito with Barbacoa, $7.50; small soda, $1.80

My love for Chipotle started a few years ago while on a trip with my nephew Daniel to Washington D.C. A little confession from me: When I am on vacation I go into vacation mode and eating meals tends to take a back seat to sight-seeing. When my then 18-year-old nephew realized this, he immediately started looking for food. He spotted this little burrito place and we happily went in. I thought it was the best food I had ever tasted! Ever since that day I have longed for the fresh ingredients of that burrito I had at Chipotle in D.C. Today didn’t disappoint! I ordered the barbacoa burrito, filled with black beans, brown rice, cheese, medium salsa and sour cream. I added a drink because they carry Diet Coke and I was in heaven.

Sylvia: Salad with Chicken, $6.50; guacamole $1.95

Yup Chipotle Mexican Grill is now in Orem, and though I was prepared to not be impressed with yet another assembly line food spot, I was indeed impressed, especially with their policy of “Food with Integrity.” My salad was very tasty, piled with their spicy grilled chicken, fresh romaine, sour cream, rice and beans. I saw they had some fresh corn and asked for that and received a generous scoop, no charge. Also, my guacamole wasn't added with one of those tiny ice cream style scoops; it was added with a full-on big serving spoon, and it was super tasty. Reasonably priced and yummy, Chipotle is definitely a good go-to lunch spot.

Shellie: Burrito Bowl with Steak, $7.50; guacamole $1.95

Trying to milk every last day of sunny weather, it was a beautiful warm day for our lunch at Chipotle. I decided on a bowl with steak and black beans. I was pleasantly surprised by the wonderfully seasoned steak. I chose the hot salsa, and was happy with the spiciness. (Sometimes, I feel like hot is closer to medium at some restaurants.) They were very generous with the sour cream and guacamole, and it all came together in a scrumptious meal. The portion size was more than enough, and I’m looking forward to Chipotle again. It will be a perfect spicy dinner on a cold evening.

Gabby: Crispy Tacos with Carnitas, $7.50

This meal comes with three tacos. You can choose corn or flour shells, crispy or soft. You also have your choice of beans and rice, as well as salsa and other toppings. I went with crispy corn shells. They were overflowing with meat, black beans, cilantro-lime white rice, fresh tomato salsa, lettuce, cheese and generous sour cream. The carnitas were very seasoned, tender, and flavorful. The combination of fresh, tasty ingredients was fabulous, and the plentiful portions were quite filling. I loved my meal and loved what I got for the price!

Well, the Lunch Ladies enjoyed yet another lunch hour and more delicious meals. This particular Chipotle definitely lived up to the reputation of what we’ve come to expect from this restaurant chain. We are excited to welcome it to the neighborhood and hope we can continue to enjoy its fresh, fast-paced grub!

Chipotle Mexican Grill: 715 E. University Pkwy., Orem. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

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