NEWBURYPORT – Chipotle, a national restaurant chain known for quick Mexican-style meals, will be opening a location at Port Plaza later this year, according to a company spokeswoman.
“I’m happy to confirm that we are opening a Newburyport location this fall at 45 Storey Ave.,” Chipotle spokeswoman Erin Wolford wrote in an email.
Wolford estimated the new branch means 25 new jobs.
Chipotle Mexican Grill was founded in Denver in 1993 and has expanded to more than 2,000 locations across the globe.
In recent years, the chain garnered unwanted attention after a series of food safety crises led to several people becoming ill and locations temporarily shuttered.
In December 2015, 80 Boston College students became ill after eating at a Chipotle. That forced the temporary closure of the Boston location and the firing of a manager there after an employee came to work sick.
The response from the community about the restaurant coming to Newburyport was mixed.
While some said they were pleased another dining option was coming to the city others bemoaned having another chain business. Some expressed concern over Chipotle’s heath record but others said they didn’t care.
“Food was fresh and I liked that you could choose all the fillings,” Jennifer Drivas Linke said in a response on Facebook. “There was a line out the door too so they must have done something right! Maybe it’s hit or miss and I just got lucky?”
Sonja Schowengerdt said the city does not need another Mexican restaurant. There are two Mexican fast-food restaurants, Metzy’s and Dos Amigos, along with Agave, a full-service restaurant.
“We needed another burrito joint? I’m waiting for a new food in town. Korean? Barbecue? Southern comfort?
So many genres to choose from. Besides, we have two locally owned fast Mex places. I’d rather give them my money,” Schowengerdt said.
Newburyport resident Doug Mahar said the restaurant is likely looking to capture out-of-town diners.
“This is not for locals, this is for people passing through on the way to Maine or the way to Boston on (Interstate) 95 that are stopping for fuel and a bite to eat,” Mahar said.
Mahar’s response and the responses of others came after a reporter asked for comments on Facebook.
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008