Chipotle Mexican Grill has experienced a meteoric rise, defining a new kind of “fast casual” dining in the U.S. It has earned acclaim from consumers and investors for its business model. In some ways, it has become an “anti-McDonald’s” business model, which is surprising, since Chipotle was under the Golden Arches’ “corporate arches” for nearly eight years.

The ascendancy of Chipotle is in stark contrast to the decline of McDonald’s corporate fortunes. Both tell us something about changing consumer tastes and values in the U.S.

Kyle Stock and Vanessa Wong of Bloomberg Business have put together a stunning oral history of Chipotle. They interviewed dozens of people, including Chipotle’s CEO Steve Ells.

“In Ells’s telling, the company has thrived on high-quality food and engaged workers — and because Ells created a highly efficient way to cook, one that had nothing to do with the established, freeze-heat-and-serve fast-food model. The funny thing is, Ells never really wanted to spend much time in the burrito business at all.”

A must read.