Chipotle entering La. market with B.R. restaurant near LSU
The battle for burrito supremacy in Baton Rouge will heat up next summer when Chipotle Mexican Grill opens its first Louisiana restaurant in the former Blockbuster site near LSU's North Gates at 101 W. State St. Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold says the restaurant will open in mid-2012, but no exact date has been set. The burrito chain—similar in concept to Izzo's Illegal Burrito—has grown to more than 1,100 restaurants across the U.S., U.K and Canada since its foundation in Colorado in 1993. Arnold is mum at the moment on plans for other Chipotle restaurants in Baton Rouge or Louisiana. "We don't talk about plans beyond sites that are under lease and where construction is scheduled, and nothing else meets [those] criteria at this point," he says. "But it's also pretty unusual for us to do just one restaurant anywhere." Once the restaurant opens, there will be just four states—Mississippi, Montana, and North and South Dakota—in which Chipotle is not operating. The 6,500 square feet of space formerly occupied by Blockbuster is being divided in two, with Five Guys Burgers and Fries set to open alongside the Chipotle site, says Austin Earhart of Beau Box Commerical Real Estate, the agent on both deals. "They're working to get in there as soon as humanly possible, but it will probably be spring time," Earhart says of the Five Guys restaurant. A patio will be constructed on the Highland Road side of the building, to be shared by both restaurants, Earhart says. —Steve Sanoski
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