Chipotle Mexican Grill coming soon to Dickson Street

Photo: Todd Gill / Enlarge
A large banner announcing a soon-to-open Chipotle Mexican Grill was hung from the old train depot building at 550 W. Dickson Street in Fayetteville.

A burrito battle could soon take place in Fayetteville when Chipotle Mexican Grill opens at 550 W. Dickson Street a few doors down from Qdoba and just around the corner from Flying Burrito.

The restaurant, which features a similar menu to both of its established competitors, is set to start selling burritos sometime this spring.

“It’s still a little too soon to have an opening date scheduled,” said Chipotle Communications Director Chris Arnold, “but it should open in late March or early April.”

Signs indicating a soon-to-be Chipotle first appeared in the windows of the old train depot building shortly after the closing of WOW Japanese Bistro.

A large banner with only the word “Soon” printed above a Chipotle logo was added to the front of the building sometime over the weekend.

The restaurant chain, which Arnold says opens a few new stores each week, celebrated the opening of its 1000th location in Denver last June.

It’s an interesting milestone considering Chipotle founder Steve Ells never intended to open more than one store.

“My plan was to use Chipotle as a cash cow to help me finance my own restaurant,” said Ells, a classically trained chef. “It was a novel idea: I’d show that food that was fast didn’t have to be a typical fast-food experience.” People loved it, though, said Ells. “So I opened another, and another, and so on.”

Arnold said he didn’t know exactly what number the Dickson Street location would be, but that the company is nearing the 1,100 mark.

As for the unique location, it’s nothing the company hasn’t seen before. “We build restaurants in a wide variety of locations and spaces, both new from the ground up and retro-fitting existing buildings,” he said. “Each presents some challenge, but nothing terribly unusual.”

Burrito battle

The news of this Chipotle has sparked a mild debate among local residents who are concerned about the location’s proximity to two other fast-casual burrito restaurants.

“Chipotle in the shadow of Qdoba and Flying Buritto is not what Dickson needs,” wrote one person here on the Flyer. “Who wants to go to Dickson and see a bunch of chain restaurants?” wrote another.

Those arguments were somewhat overshadowed yesterday, however, when we first tweeted a photo of the new banner. Re-tweet comments ranged from “Woot!” to “Awesome!” to “Sooo sexy.”

May the best giant burrito win.

UPDATE: Looks like there’s one coming to Pleasant Ridge Shopping Center in Little Rock in early spring, too.