Texas Roadhouse, Culver’s and Buffalo Wild Wings, all will be opening restaurants in Duluth in 2010. But how about a Chipotle Mexican Grill?
After all, rumor has it…
Actually, there’s good new and bad news for Chipotle fans who would love to see this trendy purveyor of tacos and jumbo burritos right here in Duluth.
The chain — which is on a roll opening more than 100 restaurants a year — has looked at at least one site in Duluth: the former Gander Mountain near Miller Hill Mall.
I got that confirmed this week by Beth Wentzlaff, president of CMRA, property manager for the building at 1307 Miller Trunk Highway.
“We’ve talked to them,” she said. “It won’t work in that building. There’s not enough parking.”
That’s because Buffalo Wild Wings is already going in and will use 7,000 of the building’s 36,000-square-foot space when it opens next summer or fall. The rest of the building hasn’t been leased.
The problem, Wentzlaff says, is Duluth City Code requires twice the parking space for restaurants than it does for retail.
“So we will just be squeaking by with retail, but we would be way short of what city code requires for another restaurant,” Wentzlaff said. “That’s the diffficulty of that location.”
She said there’s plenty of other restaurant sites in town Chipotle could be looking into.
If they are, Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold isn’t talking.
“We’re looking at sites and deals all over the country all the time,” he said. “But we don’t talk about site detail until we have something under lease and a construction deal.”
The chain, founded in 1993 and with more than 900 locations in the United States and Ontario, has led the way with fast casual dining and emphasizes natural, organic ingredients.
It will open 120 to 130 new restaurants in 2010, Arnold said.
Sites chosen have good visibility and access. They have a daytime and nightime population mix with residential, office, retail, hospitals and/or college campuses nearby. The restaurants vary in sizes, but most are between 2,000 and 2,500 square feet.
“We try to build restaurants in places where they become neighborhood restaurants rather than off interstates or touristy places that have changing clientele ever day,” Arnold said.
Hmmm, I guess that rules out Canal Park.