Chipotle (NYSE: CMG) put some spice into investor's lives with its first-quarter results. My Foolish colleague Rick Munarriz made an excellent point in February when he contended that Chipotle's lackluster 2010 guidance might turn out to be one of those little white lies, if this quarter's any indication.

First-quarter net income increased by 49.1%, to $37.8 million, or $1.19 per share. Revenue increased by a healthy 15.6% to $409.7 million, and comparable-store sales jumped by 4.3%. Even more heartening, the comps growth was driven by increased customer traffic into Chipotle's stores.

Not only did Chipotle beat expectations, but it walloped them by a long shot. Analysts were expecting earnings of $0.95 per share.

Given our recent economic uncertainty, a key factor in profitability has been consumer-facing companies' ability to increase sales and customer traffic, not just cut costs. Chipotle pulled a sales increase off, and certainly more robustly than last quarter, given the impressive increases in sales and comps.

It's been a pretty heartening time for restaurant concerns of many stripes, as many consumers have been in the mood for little splurges again. McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) continues to sizzle and Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX) was able to show its siren song in luring customers once again. The revival in the fast-casual space could be further confirmed when Panera (NYSE: PNRA) reports earnings on April 28.

Of course, Chipotle also has a tradition of being one of those high-growth, premium-priced stocks. It's currently trading at 33 times trailing earnings, while former parent McDonald's is trading at only 17 times trailing earnings. Chipotle is even pricier than Starbucks, which sits at 27 times earnings and doesn't have the torrid growth rates of its glory years to justify a massive multiple. And Cheesecake Factory's (Nasdaq: CAKE) P/E of 35 might sound utterly outrageous, especially given its much slower prospects for growth.

Chipotle's a high-quality stock -- it has many interesting elements, including its emphasis on fresh, sustainable ingredients -- and it's certainly popular with consumers. It may, in fact, deserve its premium multiple as it continues to clock excellent growth.

What do you think? Snap up shares of Chipotle now or hope for a temporary pullback at some point? Let us know in the comments box below.

Chipotle is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick and a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. Starbucks is a Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Chipotle. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Alyce Lomax owns shares of Starbucks. The Fool has a disclosure policy.