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The Curious Case of Qdoba

[Four views of the new Qdoba at Eighth Avenue and 21st Street, clockwise from top left, courtesy Crazy Fingers, The Shophound, lgreen/Flickr, and the Eater tipline.]

News that the chain restaurant Qdoba is moving into the shuttered Bright Food Shop on Eighth Avenue has, without us really noticing it, enveloped our entire world. Partially, this has to do with the nostalgia factor; as blogger Crazy Fingers puts it, "Chelsea is one step further down the path to becoming the world's largest open-air shopping mall." But the utter fascination with this opening—Manhattan's second Qdoba, we believe, following the outpost on 34th Street—means there must be something deeper going on here. Right? We asked our resident fast food expert to break it down for us:

Many people—I think it might be a regional thing—see Qdoba as a rich man's Chipotle. The menu's broader and some say the food is better. So because there was a lot of fuss when Chipotle came to the city, and people feel Qdoba is better, the fact that Qdoba has finally spread its wings is stirring up a lot of excitement in the Mexican fast-food community. I've never even been there and I'm excited.
Additional theories welcomed in the comments. We can and will figure this out.
· Icky National Chain Replacing Bright Food Shop [Crazy Fingers]
· Chelsea's Latest Addition: The National Chain Restaurant [The Shophound]
· The Shutter: Bright Food Shop [~E~]
· Qdoba Location Finder []