A dream for many Buffalo residents may be about to come true; the Planning Commission held a concept review at its Monday, February 13th meeting for a local franchise of the popular fast-food chain Chipotle. For a town that has been plagued for years with the rumors about the Mexican Grill, the news has been met with both jubilation and hesitancy.
Buffalo Planning Commissioner Darek Hudyma posted on the “Buffalo MN Community” Facebook group last Friday that “The rumors are true. A national chain that starts with C and ends in otle is coming to the planning commission on Monday. Oh and I am on the commission and just finished reading our packet. So I am not making it up for jokes.”
The post generated quite the buzz, with over 220 comments and 314 interaction as of Tuesday night. Reactions were mixed with some excitement, others wishing it was a Chick-fil-a or Bluestone proposed instead. One reader jokingly commented “How many new roundabouts will be required?” in reference to the many throughout the town.
Nine years ago, when similar rumors were circling, The Hoofprint interviewed a Chipotle public relations representative who said there were no plans for a restaurant in Buffalo, but added wistfully that “Maybe one day it could happen.” Many are now hoping that day has arrived.
At the Commission meeting on Monday night, there was a brief presentation of the lot plans and proposed land usage at the site, located at the corner of 1200 State Hwy 25 N and 93 14th St NE.
The proposed redevelopment would require the demolition of the multipurpose office building that currently occupies the site and the creation of two smaller, drive-thru equipped buildings with a shared parking lot between them. Most of the meeting’s discussion focused on parking and queuing at the two facilities.
Chipotle’s developer, Allison Morgan of Minneapolis-based Capital Real Estate, spoke before the Commission to clarify details of the project. The second building, to the north of the proposed Chipotle, was described by Morgan as a planned coffee shop with “a round logo, green in color,” a comment that was met with knowing laughs by much of the Commission.
Monday’s hearing, simply an opportunity for the Commission to share its first impressions of the project, was only the first step of a months-long process by which the restaurant is seeking city approval and it will likely be a minimum of a year before any proposed opening date.
“This is a good start,” noted Planning Commission Chair George Fantauzza near the end of the discussion. “We’d like to see this as a development.”
Photo courtesy of David Kelly, City of Buffalo