Becca Damante '17
On April 23, the popular chain restaurant Moe’s Southwest Grill opened in Northampton, marking its second location in Western Massachusetts. The store established its new home at 228 King Street next to Stop & Shop inside a storefront that used to be Blockbuster Video. To celebrate its grand opening, Moe’s announced that it would give away a year of free burritos to the first 50 customers, and Smith student Sam Baierl ’18 just made the cut.
Baierl first heard about the grand opening from her friend Maya, who had seen the offer on the Moe’s Facebook page. She immediately knew that she had to go, as Moe’s is one of her favorite restaurants, and who can resist free burritos? Last Wednesday night, she asked her housemates and friends if they would join her, but most either had class the next morning or didn’t want to wake up that early. She had to take the journey alone.
At 9:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, Baierl arrived at Moe’s, prepared to wait until 11 a.m. when the doors would officially open. There were already about 45 people in line. Most of them were middle-aged, with the exception of a few high school students who came with their parents. About a dozen people had been there since the evening before and were in sleeping bags at the front of the line.
When Baierl arrived, she was unsure about her chances but remained positive. “It was nerve wracking because I didn’t know if I’d actually made it…There were people…in the back [who] wanted to know if they were going to make it or not,” she said. “I was number 44, but I kept getting pushed back because people kept cutting the line.” In the end, Baierl was number 48, barely making the cutoff.
At 11 a.m., the doors opened, and cheers erupted from the crowd outside. Sam waited about 30 minutes before she ordered her free burrito, which she filled with ground beef, rice, cheese and sour cream. Others in line who missed the cutoff were also awarded a reduced price, $5 burrito. When Baierl finally got to the front of the line, she was given a small card numbered from one to fifty-two. She won a free burrito, along with chips and salsa, once a week for an entire year, but the burrito could only be redeemed at this particular Moe’s location.
This is not the only Moe’s that has used this promotion. Restaurant owner Sagar Shah, who also owns the Moe’s in Hadley, revealed that other locations have done similar promotions in the recent past. In addition to Thursday’s deals, the restaurant also opened its doors on Wednesday and donated 100 percent of its sales to the Northampton Athletic Booster Club. According to Shah, they raised roughly $2,500 and this isn’t the last of the promotions going on. Every Monday, Moe’s offers a burrito, chips, and salsa for only $5.99.
Baierl is excited to redeem her weekly free burrito, chips and salsa, though she is disappointed that she won’t be here for the summer to take advantage of the offer. However, she’s already thinking about which of her friends will have cars next year so she can trek to King Street even when the weather gets cold.