Love, Chipotle-style: See couple’s creative engagement at Elk Grove eatery
On Saturday at a local Chipotle, a lucky Sacramentan got more than just a burrito bowl — she got a ring.
Sacramento local Chris Piwinski proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Natalie Neach, at the Elk Grove Chipotle. Piwinski had known he was going to propose for a while — he bought the ring in January — but he spent months trying to decide the best way to go about it. He wanted to do something that was meaningful to both of them, and represented who they were as a couple.
And then, it hit him: Chipotle.
“Anyone who knows us knows we love Chipotle,” Piwinski said.
When the couple started dating in high school (Piwinski was a sophomore, Neach a freshman), Piwinski would beg his mom for $20, then take Neach out on dinner dates at the Elk Grove Chipotle. After a rough fight? They would go to Chipotle to talk things out. One Valentine’s Day, after their planned upscale dinner date was dampened by a 45-minute wait time, they ended up spending a romantic night at Chipotle.
“It’s where we go,” said Piwinski. “We love it. We eat there probably once a week.”
So in May, Piwinski reached out to Chipotle’s public relations department, asking the company to help him propose to Neach. And after multiple phone calls and over 70 back-and-forth emails, Piwinski’s vision became a reality.
Piwinski and Neach started Saturday by visiting places that were special to them — their favorite coffee shop, the wineries out in Clarksburg. And then, for dinner, they made a final stop at Chipotle.
“He was very adamant on the timing of all of it, which was unusual,” said Neach.
Other things struck Neach as unusual, too. There were more employees than usual behind the counter, and as Piwinski and Neach ordered, the burrito-makers all seemed strangely excited.
But Neach didn’t much of it; after all, they were just eating dinner at Chipotle.
“I was not suspecting it at all,” Neach said.
They sat down at a table that a Chipotle manager had secretly reserved for them with their food: a burrito bowl (chicken, brown rice, black beans) for Neach, and a burrito (steak, extra white rice, no beans) for Piwinski.
Piwinski usually takes big bites out of his burrito, but his hands were shaking so hard that he could barely eat. So he set his burrito down, and handed Neach a poem he had written that hinted towards the proposal. Ed Sheeran’s “Kiss Me,” a song filled with meaning for the couple, started playing over the loudspeakers.
And then, Piwinski brought out the ring.
She said yes.
The whole time, the couple’s friends and family had been hiding in a pizza place a couple doors down and watching the couple on the restaurant’s security camera. And after the proposal, they came into the Chipotle to celebrate with Neach and Piwinski. The occasion was complete with ‘She said yes’ balloons, and a cake topped with icing shaped like a burrito.
“What better way to celebrate love than over a shared love of Chipotle?” said Quinn Kelsey, a spokesperson for Chipotle. “We are so happy for this wonderful couple and are thrilled to have been a part of their special day.”
The only downside? Piwinski didn’t wait for Neach to start eating her burrito bowl before proposing. Luckily, Chipotle catered the after-party, so while celebrating her engagement with family and friends, she had the chance to eat plenty of chips and guacamole.