On a local discussion group, we were talking about the fate of the space formerly occupied by Susanna Foo, an excellent high-end Chinese restaurant that used to be an institution in Philadelphia. But Susanna Foo herself got tired of running the place and closed it down last year. Now the Mexican food chain Chipolte is eying the location, adding yet another semi-fast food Mexican lunch place to the already crowded niche in Center City Philly.
One poster observed that there must be a demand for such a place since there are so many of them already in the area and all seem crowded. "It's a pretty popular businessperson's lunch-hour," he said.
Another poster, known only as The Count, then responded with a story that simply crystallizes everything about life in a downtown office:
In my office, that would be an understatement.
There is a group of women in my office (20's, 30's) who declare a Qdoba Day about once a month or so.
The declaration usually begins with an email blast with "Qdoba!!!!!!Today!!!!!!" in the subject line.
Followed by, "We'll meet in the lobby at 12:15!!!! Don't be late!!!!!!" (Usually done in 64 font and multiple colors).
For the remainder of the morning the women will walk in and out of each other's offices and discuss what they are going to order, how much they love Qdoba, and whether they would rather have a Qdoba Burrito or 7 new pairs of Uggs.
No work gets done on Qdoba Day.
Around 11:45 begins the parade to the bathroom as the women go as a group to freshen up and re-apply make-up for Qdoba.
They will return from Qdoba around 2:00 and spend the rest of the day talking about how if Qdoba was a man they'd marry it.
It's amazing. No other lunch place anywhere in the city gets this type of reaction. Not Marathon, not Pietro's, not Oyster House, not Happy Rooster, not Shiroi Hana, not Good Dog.
In fact, if I offered them a choice between a free lunch at Parc and lunch at Qdoba I think they would take Qdoba.
I haven't enjoyed a life-in-the-office story so much in years.