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Chipotle plans to expand in Knoxville

10:53 PM, Jun 6, 2013   |    comments
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According to regional managers of the Mexican restaurant Chipotle, three new restaurants will be opening in Knoxville over the next 12 months.

This would bring the total number of the Colorado-based restaurants to four; the first one opened in 2011 near the UT campus.

One is planned at the intersection of Cedar Bluff Road and Peters Road in West Knoxville and another will be on is 11380 Parkside Drive in Turkey Creek. Area team leader for Chipotle Mexican Grill told 10News a third location is planned, but cannot specify at this time.

"Fast casual" restaurants on the upswing

According to website RestaurantIndustryTrends.com, the concept of "fast casual" restaurants, that Chipotle falls under, has seen a steady growth for years. Mexican cuisine has several chains that fit in this category.

"It's due to people's lifestyles," said Jim Oleski with competitor Saltarita's "You know, they eat on the go pretty regularly, and if you can fulfill that niche, you can be very successful."

The Charlotte-based company has eight locations in East Tennessee. Another chain, Moe's Grille, has three in Knoxville alone.

"(It's) a higher quality of food than fast food. But, it's quick, it's easy and it's convenient," said Nate Laiewski with Moe's "We're giving you the quality a sit down restaurant can give, but in a fast format."

"This is really the only part of the hospitality market that's really growing," Oleski added.


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