Chipotle Mexican Grill is coming to downtown Woodinville. The Denver-based corporation has more than 1,000 company-owned eateries nationwide and growing, landing at No. 54 on Fortune’s 100 list of fastest growing companies. It’s moving into the last of bit of empty storefront where Hollywood Video used to be, sandwiched between Panera and Taco Del Mar, and therein lies the problem.
, , and , all serving burritos, are within a one-mile radius of the Chipotle. “I’m so upset, I cried for three days,” said the manager of one of the existing restaurants who asked not to be identified. “We’re already struggling in this economy, what was the city thinking?”
It’s the free market that decides what businesses go where, according to city officials. Under the law, the city does not have the authority to keep specific businesses from coming to Woodinville, according to Alexandra Sheeks, assistant to the city manager. “We have to weigh whether it’s consistent with our zoning code; a rendering plant for instance would not be able to go in there. We don’t get to keep out, say, a Szechwan restaurant because there is already a Cantonese Chinese restaurant in a particular retail center. That’s up to the property manager to decide.”
Ooba Tooba, a local business with four locations, posted this on its Facebook page:
“Dear (multi-million $$$ corporation) Chipotle, please refrain from entering our (small, local-family-owned) store during lunch, with the audacity to boldly ask us to post your flier & solicit us for employee referrals. Gracias.”
Anyone looking for a job, however, may have a different take on a new business coming to town. A poster in the Chipotle window states it’s holding a job fair at the Country Inn Suites, 19333 N. Creek Parkway in Bothell, on Jan. 18-20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There is no word on when the restaurant is opening. Repeated emails by Patch to Chipotle headquarters have gone unanswered.