The Rats Have Taken Over a Chipotle

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

We were warned that they were coming. In April, when the pandemic shut down the New York City rat community’s usual food supply of scraps, urban rodentologists predicted a rat infestation the likes of which even this city had never seen. They foretold furious rat battles, cannibalism, and infanticide among rats fighting in a restaurant-food-less wasteland, Mad Max-style.

Then they came. One man knows this all too well, a man who fell into a sidewalk sinkhole full of rats, a man named Leonard Shoulders. As he lay in the sinkhole, Leonard’s shoulders, ironically, were covered in rats, according to a lawsuit he recently filed.

Now the rats have moved on to claiming an entire business for their new rat kingdom. A Chipotle on West 169th street has been taken over by a group of hostile, hungry rats who, workers say, are the size of small cats, love biting humans, and enjoy avocados.

Workers say that the infestation began a few months ago, and that they reported it to management after the first employee was bitten by a rat in October. The restaurant remained open until November 23, however, the New York Post reports, as the rats continued to fatten themselves on delicious, hearty foods such as rice and, yes, ripe green avocados. Four workers in total have been bitten. Eventually, the rats chewed through the wiring of the online ordering system, triggering a total shutdown, a smart tactic clearly intended to declare ownership of the Mexican restaurant.

Most dystopian is the fact that workers are still returning to the disputed territory to try and quell the siege, by “stomping on them, smacking them with broom handles, dropping boxes on them and various other medieval methods of extermination.” It’s not uncommon in this bloodbath to hear workers simply begin screaming, one said.

Given the fact that rats have a documented love of Chipotle (from when they fell through a Houston Chipotle’s ceiling), and that they canonically love New York, a rat’s town, it seems like management should have realized the rats would not give up so easily here. Their workers need protection. There is no stopping a rat who has figured out they don’t have to pay extra for guacamole, not anymore, not ever.

The Rats Have Taken Over a Chipotle