Published on LancasterOnline and in print on June 24.
People lined up in front of Moe’s Southwest Grill in East Hempfield Township long before the doors opened Thursday afternoon, including some overnight campers.
Roughly 100 burrito-loving hopefuls came prepared with mattresses, folding chairs, umbrellas, tents and various activities to do as they waited.
Art Young, first in line, had been waiting for at least 30 hours.
“Only for Moe’s,” Young said, as he stood in line at the new Centerville Road location of the restaurant; he got there around Wednesday 4 a.m. Young was first in line last year also, when Moe’s Lititz branch opened.
Young typically does not camp overnight for free food, but the perks made it worth the wait.
Moe’s offered a special treat to the first 75 people in line for their Thursday preview day: free burritos for an entire year. The restaurant also offered free burritos to anyone who came to the new location between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and free T-shirts to the first 500 people who arrived.
The free burritos were enough incentive for Krista Lewis, along with her two friends Taylor Horn and Danny Seal, to arrive at Moe’s at around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday night.
“We were afraid that we wouldn’t make the 75 if we came late,” Lewis said.
While Lewis has never dined at Moe’s, Seal is no stranger to their cuisine. His landscaping career has him near the Moe’s in Lititz frequently.
“Free burritos would help out,” Seal said. Lewis joked that this helps financially, too.
The morning rain stood no chance at quelling the interest of those who camped out. This was the first time camping out at a restaurant for Lewis, Horn and Seal, but there were many attendees who regularly frequented restaurant openings.
“It’s an excellent burrito,” said Tanni Stumpf, the second person in line.
Stumpf has attended many openings, 35 of which have been for Chik-fil-A restaurants. This is his second Moe’s opening. He said one of the things he enjoys most about sitting out for restaurant openings is the people he gets to meet.
“Yesterday when I arrived here, I just met so many nice people,” Stumpf said. “It’s just a fun time.”
The long line and long wait did not hinder people from coming. Stumpf and Seal insisted that the free burritos were worth the time.
“Between the hours of like 9:30 p.m. and 3 to 4 a.m., you’re sitting there wondering ‘Why am I doing this?’ You have a little regret, and you’re thinking about bailing, but then from like 4:30 a.m. it’s not really bad,” Seal said.
“You start thinking about it, getting hopeful, looking forward to a year of free burritos, and really it’s like getting paid $38 an hour in burritos just to sit here with your friends,” Seal said. “Definitely worth it.”
Moe’s Southwest Grill’s official opening is June 24, and it’s located on 503 Centerville Road. It is owned and operated by Keli Cooper and Larry Wilson, who also own the Moe’s in Lititz.