More burritos are on the way.
Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill is building a new restaurant at 132 N. Glendale Ave. within blocks of competitors Baja Fresh and Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill.
The three restaurants will be close, but the new addition won’t hurt business at the other food stops, Glendale Development Services Director Philip Lanzafame said.
“I think they’re different enough, and they’re distanced enough from the others to be successful,” Lanzafame said of Chipotle, which plans to open its doors just one block from Rubio’s in August.
The close competition did not deter Chipotle, which will be the latest in a series of national restaurant chains to set their sights on locations in the city following the completion of the Americana at Brand.
Outback Steakhouse, BJ’s Restaurant and Panera Bread, which is set to open in July, all moved to the area following the development of the 900,000-square-foot shopping center, Lanzafame said.
With the Americana adding to the presence of the nearby Glendale Galleria to create a regional shopping destination of growing prominence, the new restaurants hope to draw on the visiting crowds by positioning themselves as convenient food options for shoppers, he said.
The Americana and Galleria were also considerations for Chipotle, which will not be as close to the shopping centers as other downtown options, but is still within a convenient range for shoppers in the area, the company’s local marketing consultant, Alonzo Cudd, said.
“It’s always great when you have a lot going on in a certain area because typically what people think is, ‘I want to go to a place where I have a lot of options,’” said Cudd, who hoped the restaurant’s “fast-casual” approach to dining would prove convenient, healthy and attractive to customers.
The restaurant’s proximity to Trader Joe’s, which is next door, and Whole Foods Market, both of which have health-conscious customer bases that care about their food ingredients, will likely boost business to Chipotle, which has tried to draw on a similar demographic, said Eric Olson, vice president of the Downtown Glendale Merchants Assn.
“Particularly for a place that promotes itself as a healthier eating place, to be close to a supermarket that promotes that idea, it fits right in there,” Olson said.
Because Chipotle markets its use of all-natural, raw ingredients and meat from animals that have been raised humanely and without antibiotic treatment, customers from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods might be more interested in choosing the restaurant, Cudd said.
“The people that are educated about how food is sourced and how it’s made, those types of customers we share,” he said.
Chipotle had been considering a location in Glendale for years, Cudd said, and once the former location of China Inn Express became available, the chain jumped at the opportunity, despite having nearby restaurants in Burbank and La Cañada Flintridge, he said.
“While Glendale will definitely share some of the customers from our other locations, the local population is more than enough for a Chipotle to be successful there,” Cudd said. “In fact, having other locations nearby should only help in Glendale’s ultimate success.”
Judee Kendall, executive director of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, was surprised at the loss of China Inn Express, which had struggled for years before closing its doors in 2008. The arrival of Chipotle was equally unexpected, she said.
“In this economy, it’s just kind of surprising to see someone open, but it’s also encouraging,” she said.