Boloco Burritos Closing on 19th Street Downtown

1028 19th Street, NW

Thanks to a reader for passing on the email:

“To our friends & neighbors of our 19th Street, DC location [opened up at 19th and L St, NW back in Nov. 2012]

Today, we are closing our 19th Street location. In the spirit of honesty that is so important to us, we want to share the reasons for closing. The DC market has been tough for us. We struggled to build awareness of who we are and what we do. We also struggled early on with operations and, though we were eventually able to improve our operations, we unfortunately never were able to win back many of the guests that we had initially disappointed.

While boloco 19th Street was never able to fully get on its feet, it did have many fans for the two years that it was open. We are thankful to everyone who had a part in making that happen. We are thankful to you, our guests, and we are thankful to our team members. As such, we want to do all that we can to support our team members through this transition. We will be providing compensation to them through the end of this year and working closely with them to find jobs in the area.”

27 Comment

  • palisades

    Wow. I respect their honesty. Never been there but that’s a bummer

  • What a great statement. I liked this place and I’m sad to see it go.

  • I’m guessing the murderer was Chipotle.

  • justinbc

    I liked the product at Boloco, and thought their price points were pretty reasonable for the city. Where I think they lost a lot of people is their attempt to integrate too much technology into the ordering process without fully testing all that tech to make sure it worked properly and consistently. Props to them for the candid email, and for taking care of their employees through the remainder of the year.

  • Well, so long but tbh, the quality, size, and taste were not up to par with the other burrito places around

  • I’m not sure why but this always looked like a shoe store to me (even though I knew it wasn’t).

  • I’ve been there a couple of times, but was never impressed with their burritos, which were kind of dry. However, I loved their nutella shake. Delicious! The fact is there are just better burrito options downtown like Well Dressed Burrito and District Taco.

  • Went to college in Boston, where Boloco (Boston Local Company) is very popular. Never got why they would expand here. I think a big part of their constituency in Boston is college students, and the same market doesn’t really exist here. I think Boloco is pretty good (definitely not amazing), and I would advise them to try to enhance their brand and expand more in the Boston region, instead of try to go nationwide.

    • It’s clear from their aesthetics that they never considered that they’d have to do work to integrate into markets outside of Boston (starting with the terrible name).

  • Well it’s a nice email, but they’re just not as good as the other local burrito options and too expensive to compete on price.

  • Even with all their marketing shtick, they couldn’t out-Chipotle Chopotle. Their burritos were dry as a bone, flavorless and the ordering process unnecessarily complicated. To their credit through, when I wrote a bad review on Yelp, the owner wrote me back with a nice reasonable reply.

  • They still do have a Bethesda location, so it’ll be interesting to see if that one can survive.

  • By any measure except maybe variety, their offerings were sub par (par being Chipotle). If you sell burritos and you can’t offer better flavor, prices, or service than Chipotle, you’ve got little chance of success. Have no idea what the folks up in Boston see in this place.

  • I was one of the people that they disappointed early on. I gave them a fair shot on two visits and was underwhelmed both times. The burritos were flavorless, as were the smoothies. Just bland and unappealing across the board. I think that if they had a quality product, they could have found a niche for themselves. I love District Taco and Chipotle, but their lines at lunch are insane.

  • I’m sad to see them go. I’m always looking for healthy lunch options, and places like Chipotle, District Taco, etc., seem like more of a treat than an everyday thing. I liked that Boloco offered small bowls, brown rice, and lots of veggie and sauce options, and that they had a nutrition calculator online. But they would mess up something on my order most times, and they didn’t have a good system for picking up online orders. So I appreciate that they acknowledged the operations problems as one of the reasons for having to close.

  • I was one of those early disappointed customers who never returned. I went once, and the place was an absolute nightmare. They only had ONE person behind the line working lunch rush on a weekday, there were people complaining that they had been waiting for nearly 30 minutes for their order. Not to place the order, but after having already placed their order. Then I got my burrito, and it was incredibly bland – in part because it was 80% white rice, in part because they seasoned their specialty burritos after the fact. I complained, and the manager was more than gracious, incredibly apologetic, and offered me a gift card with several free burritos on it. I went back to finish up the card, trying different burritos, and each time it was the same experience. Slow service, and dull, flavorless burritos stuffed with rice. Maybe they got their act together in the end? But, I felt that I had given them more than enough opportunities to get it right.

  • I just don’t understand the initial decision to open up a burrito place one block from the Chipotle. Its just like GRK Fresh next to the best lunch food in the city, Greek Deli, both also on 19th street. I know there is a ton of people eating downtown, but you can literally smell Kostas’ food from the front door of GRK.

  • From EATER DC: A Red Robin Burger Works is opening at 1028 19th St. NW, according to WBJ. This is the Red Robin chain’s quick-service restaurant

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