Review: Costa Vida’s Gia Shipman visited the newly-opened Costa Vida off of 159th street in Overland Park to check out the food and atmosphere of the new restaurant.

The exterior of Costa Vida is black and orange, the lettering is raised off the exterior wall and reads: “Costa Vida: Fresh Mexican Grill.”

Gia Shipman , Copy Editor At-large

The new chain restaurant, Costa Vida, has made a home on 159th street in Overland Park. It serves Mexican and baja style food originating from the coastal beaches of Mexico. The newly constructed building allows inside seating as well as a drive-thru.

Sprinting into Costa Vida attempting to escape the freezing wind, I immediately noticed the the bright vibrant colors of yellow and blue splashed throughout the restaurant. Inside, it is spacious with plenty of tables and booths to sit and relax in. Facing the seating, two massive TV’s are propped on the wall displaying surfing contests and a loop of waves crashing into a beachy shore.

The menu hanging on the wall displays a wide variety of food. Costa Vida offers tacos, burritos, nachos, salad, quesadillas, enchiladas, and a baja bowl. The meats offered include chicken, pork, steak, beef, and shrimp. My main complaint about the menu is there’s no obvious vegetarian protein option like tofu or pseudo meat, which could potentially turn some people off, but wasn’t a deal-breaker for me.

I ordered the baja bowl with grilled chicken and added rice, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, a topping of queso and guacamole and, of course, I had to grab a side of chips and queso. The food and ordering process is exactly like at Chipotle or Qdoba, although the servers grilled my chicken in front of me and their queso is significantly better than Chipotle’s.

The server seemed extremely rushed despite the fact that I was the only person in the restaurant. “Do you want cheese?” he asked as he was dumping cheese in my bowl. Somewhat annoyed, I proceeded to the cashier discovering the cost for one person to eat is around $10, slightly less than a Chipotle bowl, which put me in a better mood. Taking my tray to a booth, I appreciated the rather cheesy but joyful pictures of smiling tan people on the beach. I began shoveling forkfuls of chicken and lettuce into my mouth, truthfully not thinking anything more than “this is delicious.”

The baja bowl was the right proportion of food for me. I even had just enough to take home with me. Overall, I would give Costa Vida four out of five tacos. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Mexican food, especially since it offers the option of sitting down and eating or running through the drive-thru. It might be a knock off Chipotle, but the food is still satisfying. With that being said, I’d prefer Chipotle given the choice. Chipotle’s food seems fresher and I like their chicken over Costa Vida’s. With my preconceived biases, I think Chipotle is a hard competitor to beat, but I greatly appreciate a drive-thru serving Mexican food healthier than Taco Bell.