A few chapters back, I playfully insisted that we don’t think of ourselves as experts in much of anything, and yet Marie and I are frequently asked for dining suggestions, especially from acquaintances and co-workers who are going out of town. Chattanooga is a fairly regular destination for people whom we know, and I always include Mojo Burrito in my suggestions. I don’t believe that it gets a whole lot of visits, though. People seem very willing to try different barbecue or pizza places in other towns, which is good, but how many different ways are there to make burritos?
With that in mind, I was initially enthusiastic about hearing that a Mojo Burrito would be opening in Dunwoody, but that ebbed when I learned that it was a franchise, and that it wouldn’t have owner Eve Williams’ amazing and distinctive touch. So it opened and we found other things to do. Last month, we finally made it over for supper. What I heard was right, and it was a good meal, but also a bit of a letdown.
Chattanooga’s Mojo Burrito is destination dining. Anybody visiting the Scenic City should consider one of the three stores as a stop. The meal is that good and the experience is that fun. Dunwoody’s Mojo Burrito is neighborhood dining. The food is pretty good, but the experience is easily duplicated everywhere else. If you’re driving across town to try this, then you’re passing by several equally good options.
We’ve been to two of the three Chattanooga stores and been incredibly pleased by the experience. Mojo is all about sensory overload, with lots of oddball folk art and collages on the walls, a big crowd, fun and upbeat music, and a pleasantly amazing beer selection full of imports and craft choices. The Dunwoody store is just a simple identikit build-to-order California-style burrito place, if there’s music at all it was quiet and forgettable, and the most daring drink in their cooler is Sweetwater 420. The Friday evening we went, we had the place to ourselves for a few minutes before several Dunwoody families started trickling inside to begin filling the space. The 60-some seat place was better than a third full when we left.
They do good work here. I enjoyed the nachos and Marie had a burrito with the mild “key lime”-flavored chicken. Like the nearby Village Burger, I think that it’s a perfectly fine neighborhood choice, and if we lived here, we’d probably stop by pretty frequently. However, it’s as much of a commitment of time and gas to get to Bell Street Burritos from our house as this place, and while the food is good, there’s not enough atmosphere or eccentricity or pizzazz to make this worth a trip across town, past other, closer options. That’s not a complaint, just a prioritizing of resources.
On the other hand, I have reminded myself that I’d like to try that third store in Chattanooga that we have not yet visited. We’ll see about doing that sometime.
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