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Chipotle coming to the Twin Ports! (?)

I have it on decent authority that work is being done right now to bring four or five Chipotle restaurants to the Twin Ports area. My source says that one of the stores is destined for Cloquet and the rest are going to be in Duluth/Superior.

I won’t get too excited until the doors open, but I think many will agree that this is a long time coming for this area. No more trips south just to get a burrito (yes, I’ve done that).

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91 Comment(s)

  1. I remain skeptical. I’ve heard rumors like this before and it never amounted to boo.

    It would make sense, though, that as my daughter (who loves Chipotle more than anyone has a right to) gets ready to leave Duluth for college in the fall that a Chipotle would open up here.

    Lawrence Lee | Mar 18, 2013 | New Comment
  2. Color me somewhat dubious, but this rumor may speak to that southwestern color scheme on the recently renovated gas station on the corner of St. Marie & Woodland.

    mickeypearson | Mar 18, 2013 | New Comment
  3. I can’t decide whether I am more amused by the people who get super excited about a chain burrito joint or the people who get super upset about people who get super excited about a chain burrito joint.

    Anyway, it’s nice to get this year’s edition of Chipotle ranting out of the way.

    Paul Lundgren | Mar 18, 2013 | New Comment
  4. Chipotle A. Doesn’t tend to go out of business after two months of being open B. Serves local meats and stuff C. Is fresh/ better than pretty much all other chains combined. Anyone who says different is operating out of their stuffymouthhole/might as well bitch about all the other places/ wouldn’t know a good burrito if it bit them of the ass/is payed off by the Swedish Mafia.

    I hate WacRonalds more than most, but this would be a Godsend to the Norwegian Riviera.

    Herzog | Mar 18, 2013 | New Comment
  5. +1 Lundgren.

    adam | Mar 18, 2013 | New Comment
  6. +1 Herzog

    Terry G. | Mar 18, 2013 | New Comment
  7. Insert stereotypical Q’Doba is better comment.

    It really is, but that’s my opinion. Personally, I like the local Border Grill chain found in the U.P.

    Brandon M. | Mar 18, 2013 | New Comment
  8. Regardless of whether this international corporate chain comes to Duluth or not, I will still be found eating at local-owned, community restaurants.

    moosetracks | Mar 18, 2013 | New Comment
  9. Look, I really don’t care that much about Chiportal or any other chainhole. I really don’t. But it’s stupid to bitch about Chipotle and not throw Johnson Controls in there while yer at it. Limes are proof God loves us.

    Minus One Guggemos. Show us you’re capable of more than three words.

    Herzog | Mar 18, 2013 | New Comment
  10. Whether or not you choose to like Chipotle’s food is irrelevant as far as I’m concerned. These days, it’s one of the barometers of a city’s appeal. I’ve actually heard people say that they’d relocate to Duluth if it had a Pottery Barn, Chipotle and ______ insert chain here.

    Terry G. | Mar 18, 2013 | New Comment
  11. Regardless of the merit of Chipotle, I’m not sure I’d trust someone who says they would move to a given area based on what chain stories/restaurants they have.

    edgeways | Mar 18, 2013 | New Comment
  12. I respect anyone who eats local at restaurants that pay a living wage or at least offer sick time, use locally sourced ingredients…

    With just those two criteria, I have ruled out nearly everything in Canal Park and downtown, including some beloved local favorites.

    It’s not about avoiding sin; it’s about accepting which sin you commit… | Mar 18, 2013 | New Comment
  13. My insert here to Terry G. includes a Granite City and Trader Joes.

    jj | Mar 18, 2013 | New Comment
  14. +1 adam, moosetracks, edgeways

    Jim Richardson | Mar 18, 2013 | New Comment
  15. Ooh. Another restaurant I won’t patronize when I visit. Wonderful.

    lojasmo | Mar 18, 2013 | New Comment
  16. I am ambvilent about whether Chipotle comes here. But I can essentially guarantee (based on heavy experience at both) that it would be fresher, faster, yummier, and cheaper then Burrito Union. Can we all agree that the only reason to eat at BU is for the beer? Yes, we can.

    vicarious | Mar 18, 2013 | New Comment
  17. Most that I’ve been to tend to stay busy whether in suburb or actual city, so I’d assume they put a lot of research into where they set up shop. I’d guess if they do expand up there it’d be high traffic areas like Canal Park or Miller Trunk initially…but I too have heard this rumor kicked around for a while.

    The Prize Is Lobster | Mar 18, 2013 | New Comment
  18. The Burrito Union has food? | Mar 19, 2013 | New Comment
  19. I stayed when the Gap left. It’s been hard, yes, but somehow I carry on.

    The Big E | Mar 19, 2013 | New Comment
  20. Every time they emailed me I would reply that they need to come to Duluth. Every time I was in the cities I would bring back my favorite burrito in a bowl with the tortilla on the side. My wife worked there in college and could reassemble my burrito for me at home. This is what I have waited for 9 years in Duluth for. Please say this is a reality! I thought Jalapeno Express was decent, but BU is too watery and never any good. I hope I am not getting my hopes up, but this is awesome news. Chipotle makes the best burritos hands down. I’m all about being a local snob about stuff, but you haven’t lived till you’ve eaten a chicken fajita burrito… Getting hungry just dreaming about it.

    Endion | Mar 19, 2013 | New Comment
  21. I can agree. Burrito Union burritos are pretty bad.Had a two-fisted fish burrito delivered to work recently. I would estimate it was 5% fish and 85% rice, the other 10% was salsa.

    If you are going to overcharge for your food, at least give us good portions of what we want in our damn burrito. Never had a problem like that at the Brewhouse or Tycoons.

    At least Lindo’s is still around, though they should have turned Jalapeno Express into a food cart.

    Oh, and if Chipotle moves into town, I will likely go crazy from all the people pronouncing it “Chi-pol-te”

    Dorkus | Mar 19, 2013 | New Comment
  22. I love Mexican and make a mean taco at home — organic beef naturally and do the soft and hard shell combo (thank you Taco John’s of Duluth circa 1980s).

    I’ve never been to Chi-poat-lay and wasn’t even pronouncing it correctly until I watched the Nightline video (it’s great, especially if, like me, you like happy pigs) on their website.

    But I see there are six restaurants near me in central and inner London. Gotta go and see what all the fuss is about and hopefully the U District 55812 will get one soon.

    Kodiak | Mar 19, 2013 | New Comment
  23. Rhetoric Guy,

    Valid points. Local is not always “better” for the community than a chain if you are looking at the big picture.


    I have lived here most of my life and would not even leave if we did not get a Chipotle. If a Chipotle opened, I would go and get my veggie burrito bowl and be happy, but I would be just fine if it did not come. Over the years Old Navy, Starbucks, Cold Stone, and Noodles all opened in the area, which is nice, but there was something about the absence factor that gave me an appreciation for those chains that I could frequent only on trips South of Duluth that is lost when we have “everything.”

    A Chipotle would do well here; many of our college students come from the Twin Cities and I am sure they would frequent it just as much as in other cities. And someone above said it well, that Chipotle tends not to go out of business after two months like so, so, so many local spots have done lately. Are business owners not doing their market research, or what is the cause of the opening and closing of restaurants left and right? Do we need Chef Gordon Ramsey?

    dinondelilah | Mar 19, 2013 | New Comment
  24. At least we have Chief Gordon Ramsey…

    moosetracks | Mar 19, 2013 | New Comment
  25. Meh. Tell me that a Cafe Rio (From Utah) is opening and I’ll start dancing. Mmmm … pork salad!!!

    Joel | Mar 19, 2013 | New Comment
  26. Dim Sum Dim Sum Dim Sum Dim Sum Dim Sum Dim Sum Dim Sum Dim Sum Dim Sum Dim Sum Dim Sum Dim Sum

    baci | Mar 19, 2013 | New Comment
  27. As long as I can get some Cipotlaway, I won’t complain.

    ian | Mar 19, 2013 | New Comment
  28. I like Baci’s idea, but something tells me Dim Sum wouldn’t quite work in Duluth as an every-day restaurant. Maybe an existing restaurant having “Dim Sum Saturdays” would work, though. But we digress.

    Paul Lundgren | Mar 19, 2013 | New Comment
  29. If we call the Dim Sum place “Meat in Pockets” would that be a turn off? We could Do ravioli, pirogi too. On a lexical side note, ya gotta like any food that’s pre-pluralized.

    Re;Chipolte, in the words of 8-Ball Delux, “quit talkin’ and start chalkin’”

    baci | Mar 19, 2013 | New Comment
  30. Never been to Chipotle, don’t know what all the fuss is about. Give me a hole-in-the-wall taqueria in San Diego anyday. I actually like BU — love their chicken quesadillas with the charred tomatillo salsa. With beer.

    I try to keep it local.

    Claire | Mar 19, 2013 | New Comment
  31. How about a cheeba hut? | Mar 19, 2013 | New Comment
  32. Claire, Sysco Food Distributors are not local.

    vicarious | Mar 19, 2013 | New Comment
  33. Thank you all for this thread. I can’t decide whether it is more like some kind of parody from The Onion: Duluth hipsters debate rumor of Chipotle opening; or if it is more akin to the viral sensation of a review of the new Olive Garden in Grand Forks, which was shared nearly 50,000 times on Facebook (and 445 on Google plus, which is equally impressive).

    What I want to know is when Rosie’s taco truck is going to open again. … Yes, one of my students wrote that article.

    jhatcher | Mar 19, 2013 | New Comment
  34. Aw, come on. It’s a valid conversation about further development in Duluth, which is a positive thing.

    Chipotle is good for sure. No, it’s not the do all be all of Mexican food … but your options are fairly limited throughout Minnesota save a few pockets like Lake St in Mpls and Cesar Chavez St in St Paul.

    The Prize Is Lobster | Mar 19, 2013 | New Comment
  35. To love Chipotle is to give up on the idea that it is “Mexican Food.” It is tasty food for a great price, but it is not Mexican Food.


    Claire, you break my heart. But vicarious has it right: too many local favorites like BU are “Perkins-ingredients sold with a local-ownership premium.” And at least some employees at Perkins earn a 401k, health insurance, vacation and sick time — something that I’d bet doesn’t get extended to many employees of these local restaurants.

    There are some local restaurants that do it right, or at least better — the Duluth Grill amazes me every day, and Zeitgeist does it better, too. But locally owned is not enough to get my money.

    John is confused. There are no hipsters in Duluth! | Mar 20, 2013 | New Comment
  36. I spend a lot of time at Zeitgeist. And I do love the Duluth Grill …. their fish tacos are the best in town. But, I am sorry, I do like BU. You can’t convince me Sysco is making that yum-a-delicious charred tomatillo salsa.

    Claire | Mar 20, 2013 | New Comment
  37. I wish for La Cucaracha Norte.

    Bret | Mar 20, 2013 | New Comment
  38. @ rhetoricguy

    Going off of the living wage idea, do you patronize local retail businesses that do not pay a living wage? I have worked a few locally-owned small businesses and none of them have paid something I could survive solely on.

    moosetracks | Mar 20, 2013 | New Comment
  39. I had a conversation with the La Cucaracha owner recently, about all the stages they went through over the years. At one point they had wandered into some quality control issues and their food had become bad, so they decided to poll their customers and asked what they wanted. The results were unanimous, quality/fresh/local…

    So what you get now when you go there, is because they had the brains to listen to the customers. It’s amazing looking at the changes over the last decade, that organics/local foods are actually making a lot of progress toward becoming mainstream, albeit have a long way to go. People are becoming more aware of the issues. I grew up on partially hydrogenated corn syrup sandwiches and am envious of children nowadays who have moms who know better. Chipolty is better than Arbies/Subway/Wendys/Hardees etc, by a green mile. It’s a miracle they don’t sell burglers. Be thankful for that. Thank Morgan Spurlock.

    Herzog | Mar 20, 2013 | New Comment
  40. Rhetoricguy, there are people at your own place of employment who don’t get the benefits you enumerate. There have been instructors in your own department who’ve had to use food stamps.

    bluenewt | Mar 20, 2013 | New Comment
  41. If you’ll walk down 14th ave on a regular basis at about 7:45, you’ll occasionally have to walk around the Sysco truck that’s pulled in behind the Union…

    They may or may not supply the salsa, but what they serve ain’t always fresh and it ain’t always local. | Mar 20, 2013 | New Comment
  42. There is no such thing as a Duluth restaurant that serves everything fresh from local farms. There are varying levels to which local restaurants try to offer as much local food as they can, but, I don’t know about you, I’m having trouble growing things in my garden this week.

    Paul Lundgren | Mar 20, 2013 | New Comment
  43. Bluenewt, a full-time teaching-only gig in my department pays a minimum of $34,000 a year — that seems livable wage in Duluth to me, though admittedly, not enough to raise a family of four without a second income or some support from the state. Health benefits accrue at I think 83% time (teaching six classes a year instead of seven, I think) — it may be lower than that, but it is certainly not higher. And I can count on less than one hand the number of people in the last eight years who have sought employment at the level that would ensure heath insurance and did not receive it.

    I teach in one of the most humane institutions in the region by the standards I am articulating, and that is entirely because we are unionized.

    Now, for all I know, before I joined in 2005, we were paying a nickel a head for every composition paper graded. I can only report what is true since I was hired. But since I was hired, my department meets that standard I am setting here.

    Paul, I absolutely agree about the impossibility of local foods. My beef is with the idea that somehow that Sysco truck pulls into the cafeteria at UMD or into a chain restaurant and dreck comes out, and then it pulls behind Burrito Union and local gold comes out. | Mar 20, 2013 | New Comment
  44. Silly hipsters…

    Endion | Mar 20, 2013 | New Comment
  45. +1 Endion, pant pant, gasp, sigh….

    Herzog | Mar 20, 2013 | New Comment
  46. +1 Endion

    Shane | Mar 20, 2013 | New Comment
  47. True story: I once witnessed Jim Richardson coming in off-shift and only purchasing in a reused small plastic bag 3.27 ounces of lentils. Shit oh dear, I thought. That is respectful. He and I would both probably eradicate the existence of fast food joints from the face of the earth in a finger snap would that it were, alas this is not the reality we share. Chipotal is somewhat the lesser evil of the formula for what exists in modern day America, their trash consumes a smaller space, the lime and peppers help shed obesity, but you burn gas to get there… If you order the Scoville units I do, it will melt the aluminum wrapper, so ask for wax.

    You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind- Mr. rogers

    Herzog | Mar 20, 2013 | New Comment
  48. Driving past the Mount Royal location this morning, I saw several vehicals ourside and a dumpster. I drove through the lot looking for corrugated sheet metal (IMHO an absolute indication of Chipolte-tude). The Bagleistas nearby said there’s been activity for the last week.

    baci | Mar 21, 2013 | New Comment
  49. Oh how our politically correct cup so often runneth over here on the PDD! Can anyone else turn their reply into a statement whose subtext is all really about how cool they are because of their purchasing standards, food/beer/music preferences, and travel experience?

    Sorry. Winter is getting too long for me….

    To make a point: I don’t want to come off as an apologist of big business, but too many above me have painted the issue in such black-and-white terms that I feel compelled to remind us all that more often reality comes in myriad shades of gray. Yes, Sysco does offer some crappy processed food. It also offers organic, regionally grown food — can’t say that every restaurant/store that uses Sysco stocks it, but they offer it. Most restaurants in town get at least some of their food from Sysco or Upper Lakes or another wholesaler, often both. To name a few: Amazing Grace, Lake Ave Cafe, Beaner’s, and yes, even the Duluth Grill buys some food from Sysco.

    The next time you are in the co-op, check the small print on many of the labels: plenty of the product on WFC’s shelves get there after riding in Sysco trucks., if you walk around the back of WFC an hour before you pass the BU, you’ll likely find the same Sysco truck. Claire, Sysco may not be making that BU salsa, but they may well be providing the raw ingredients for it. Your favorite Asian restaurant? Likely gets at least some of its food from Asian Foods, which is owned by Sysco. All the talk of Sysco, but no mention Upper Lakes Food or US Foods — and they distribute the same kind of products Sysco does.

    I’ll end with a question: If Duluth’s Marshall-Wells was still the largest wholesaler of its kind in the U.S. and third in the world — as it once was — would you consider MW a giant evil entity or a homegrown success story? Because in Houston, Sysco is a homegrown success story.

    Tony D. | Mar 21, 2013 | New Comment
  50. One of my sources tells me that the Woodland and St. Marie’s activity is rumored to be due to a dentist moving into the former gas station.

    Shane | Mar 21, 2013 | New Comment
  51. I heard that Chipotle was moving into the former Falk’s Pharmacy in Lakeside.

    So is the Kozy.

    The Big E | Mar 21, 2013 | New Comment
  52. When Trader Joe’s opens in the new high rise downtown, it’ll have a Chipotle in it. | Mar 21, 2013 | New Comment
  53. I walk by the Burrito Union on my way to work. You may very well be right about the WFC, but I don’t often shop there. I do okay on a roaster’s pay, but I don’t make enough to afford the WFCs prices … but I don’t doubt what you’re saying. | Mar 21, 2013 | New Comment
  54. #mountroyaldentist — YeeeHaa, just what an up and coming student district needs, a dentist.

    baci | Mar 22, 2013 | New Comment
  55. Z,

    It’s surprising, but for many staple items, WFC is often equal to or cheaper than Cub.

    vicarious | Mar 22, 2013 | New Comment
  56. For some stuff, yeah…it’s the rest that eats away at your bank account. | Mar 22, 2013 | New Comment
  57. +1 Tony D. Every restaurant in town uses Sysco.

    meb | Mar 23, 2013 | New Comment
  58. Just in case anyone misunderstood: I am not slamming nor celebrating Sysco. I am questioning the presumption that local restaurants with labor practices no better (possibly worse) than national chains and with food sources similar or identical to national chains are somehow more worth patronizing than those national chains. And I am questioning the idea that, if a national chain has better labor practices or better food sourcing, we should still prefer the local. | Mar 23, 2013 | New Comment
  59. Sysco is an easy target. I’ve used Sysco, Fraboni’s and Upper Lakes Foods. Oh, and Sam’s club. You can’t source exclusively locally and I have tried. Business isn’t social work, and I’ve tried that, too.

    You know what is a pretty decent place? Aztecas. Local or a small chain at least.

    Azteca Mexican Grill Reviews

    wildgoose | Mar 24, 2013 | New Comment
  60. I can only hope that if they do arrive in 558xx somewhere that it’s up at the mall with all the other blight … or better yet, Hermantown.

    rnarum | Mar 24, 2013 | New Comment
  61. Any updates?

    toyota200x | Apr 10, 2013 | New Comment
  62. Nothing further that I know, but my eyes and ears are being kept open. Part of me is hoping that they never get up here as I can’t imagine I will be able to stick to any sort of sane diet if they do.

    waferdog | Apr 10, 2013 | New Comment
  63. Panera is in at the old Ground Round site.

    spy1 | Apr 10, 2013 | New Comment
  64. Blah.

    spy1 | Apr 10, 2013 | New Comment
  65. Well, I asked one of the wine store guys next door if he had heard what’s going in. He said ‘Dentist.” He said the rumors of Leeann Chin and Chipotle are wrong.


    P.S. I love Panera!

    emmadogs | Apr 11, 2013 | New Comment
  66. Shane | Apr 11, 2013 | New Comment
  67. @The Big E — yes! yes!! Lakeside and booze — my favorite topic…instead of the Kozy, tho — it should be Myrtle’s.

    FranceneStarr | Apr 11, 2013 | New Comment
  68. I thought a vitamin shop was going in the old Ground Round. | Apr 11, 2013 | New Comment
  69. Paul Lundgren | Apr 19, 2013 | New Comment
  70. Those poor souls in Grand Forks were utterly heartbroken.

    Grand Forks’ Chipotle dreams crushed; burrito company says Twitter account is a hoax

    Paul Lundgren | May 14, 2013 | New Comment
  71. Why does this generation get so excited about cookie cutter food. Find a local place and support it with the same vigor. Local families take a big risk to bring us great food options and they need your support. Having said that, I do like Tex Mex.

    cosmojr | Jul 24, 2013 | New Comment
  72. Then there is this…

    Chipotle faked its Twitter hack

    B-man | Jul 25, 2013 | New Comment
  73. “Why does this generation get so excited about cookie cutter food.”

    The fast food industry spends millions on marketing toward children. Childhood indoctrination creates a brainwashed consumer for life.

    Anything different must be demolished and a CVS pharmacy built in it’s place; make way for capitalism!

    andrew | Jul 25, 2013 | New Comment
  74. In this case, it’s not that anyone’s getting excited about cookie cutter food, it’s that everyone’s getting excited about ‘good,’ or ‘great,’ food.

    I am typing away in Taos, New Mexico, where I have just finished another in the looooong line of amazing green chile, New Mexican cuisine. In my opinion, there is zero good New Mexican food in Duluth. It is all bland and flavorless. I have never eaten at a Chipotle, but if it is as good as everyone says it is, then bring one to town. Please!

    emmadogs | Jul 25, 2013 | New Comment
  75. I am an ex-cook for a Chipotle and the main reason they haven’t had one is distribution problems. The nearest store to Duluth is in St. Cloud. The first one should be opening, last I heard, in January. I still keep in touch with my old boss for some updates!

    William David Loes | Sep 14, 2013 | New Comment
  76. waferdog | Sep 20, 2013 | New Comment
  77. I’d like to see a more reliable source than that blog.

    1) The authors don’t identify themselves by name. In the About section, it says it’s run by “people who were interested in the Duluth’s retail and commercial development scene.”
    2) They don’t know how to change the blog’s subtitle from the default “Just another site.”
    3) They say, “Sources are beginning to confirm that Chipotle plans to open at the Miller Hill Mall in late 2014 / early 2015.” Okay. What sources are these exactly? It’s never mentioned.

    Barrett Chase | Sep 20, 2013 | New Comment
  78. On the other hand, the information presented seems fairly specific. If it was just a purely speculative piece I don’t think they would guess that Chipotle wants to build in the parking lot next to the bank.

    waferdog | Sep 20, 2013 | New Comment
  79. I have trouble believing someone could start a blog dedicated to covering community development topics and decide to call it CDinDuluth without realizing people would call it Seedy in Duluth.

    Paul Lundgren | Sep 20, 2013 | New Comment
  80. Well, there are the people who started a community assistance group with the acronym CUM and then pretend its ‘ChUM’.

    piker | Sep 21, 2013 | New Comment
  81. Just to add to the mystery…

    The Duluth News Tribune reports a yet unnamed ‘Mexican style’ restaurant opening in the Bluestone development and on WDIO last night Darren Danielson made the comment, “Burrito lovers will be happy”.

    Shane | Sep 25, 2013 | New Comment
  82. Unless we are getting a Qdoba, I think my information is starting to look good.

    waferdog | Sep 25, 2013 | New Comment
  83. It’s a chain called Big Burrito. Yes, that’s what I thought.

    spy1 | Sep 25, 2013 | New Comment
  84. From the UMD Statesman:

    “There’s going to be a Starbucks, a Chilly Billy’s (frozen yogurt), a Big Burrito—similar to Chipotle—and a couple other places,” said Peggy Walsh, property manager at BlueStone Lofts.

    bluenewt | Sep 26, 2013 | New Comment
  85. Now that is not positive news.

    waferdog | Sep 27, 2013 | New Comment
  86. Looks like it’s a Michigan-based mini-chain, it has only 2 locations. It’s too bad that it’s not a local entrepreneur … sigh … the website and the menu just look very … boring.

    Claire | Sep 28, 2013 | New Comment
  87. Here are some reviews:

    So looks like a good place post bar, and delivery success is likely dependent upon local manager/staff, but menu and reviews…not looking great.

    emmadogs | Sep 28, 2013 | New Comment
  88. waferdog | Nov 8, 2013 | New Comment
  89. But why, why, why at the godawful mall?!?!?!?!? I hate that place. The drive up Central Entrance to the mall is just depressing. I would lose the will to live just driving to eat up there.

    So that sucks.

    emmadogs | Nov 8, 2013 | New Comment
  90. agreed emmadogs

    spy1 | Nov 8, 2013 | New Comment
  91. Wow. Qdoba is coming as well. We are going to have burrito market saturation in short order.

    waferdog | Nov 8, 2013 | New Comment

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