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Chipotle Ithaca?

What a great idea.

Ive only discovered the deliciousness of Chipotle after moving to New York City this past August, as all weve really had in Ithaca for faux Mexican food cravings is Moes Southwest Grill. Yes, perhaps there is That Burrito Place (known in the alphabet soup of popular Collegetown eateries as TBP), but it pales in comparison. Taco Bell on Elmira Road just doesnt count. Considering there are no Moes restaurants in New York City, Im not sure how the opening of Chipotle will affect the Mexican food business in Ithaca. Is there enough demand to viably support both?

The imminent opening of a Chipotle seems to be part of a larger trend of corporate influence in the traditionally local-focused Ithaca market. The initial push started with the 2004 construction of South Meadow Square, which opened with Wal-Mart, Lowe's Home Improvement, and Bed, Bath and Beyond. The whole area has since grown, adding some smaller national shops such as Verizon Wireless, Aspen Dental, and Moes Southwest Grill. Last year, Ithaca was graced with its first Panera Bread, and now in early 2012 Chipotle will be opening.

These national stores provide valuable products and services that smaller mom and pop businesses cannot for the same price. But, part of the Ithaca charm is its small town, small business feel. My favorite places in Ithaca and the places for which I feel the most sentimental are those owned and operated by the so-called Townies. Ithaca is Ithaca because of these unique spots.

So, Chipotle Ithaca? What a great idea. Sort of. My mouth says yes, but Id rather see a local develop a fast casual competitor to Moes.

P.S. Chipotle ProTip: Order the off-the-menu chicken quesadilla. Its the best thing they have.

Kyle Scott | Posted on November 18, 2011 (#)

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