Zachary Fouladian, Staff Writer
Chipotle is a popular destination for Beverly students. Start walking east from the school on Gregory or Charleville, and a hop, skip and a jump later you’ve hit Beverly Drive, home to an ever-changing population of stores but an ever-present Chipotle. And that’s part of Chipotle’s allure: even if you don’t have a car, you can easily walk there with a friend or two, on streets framed by flowing trees and beautiful houses. Add that to a burrito that could, in a pinch, serve as lunch and dinner, and you’ve got a winner. While other stores come and go, Chipotle has stayed robust and booming from its packs of student customers and equally numerous regular customers. And by the looks of it, Chipotle is here to stay.
This Chipotle, right by the school, is located on the busy 200 block of Beverly Drive. On the 400 block, on the corner of Santa Monica, was a Baja Fresh, a similarly themed store that I frequented in elementary and middle school. My first time there, the place was absolutely packed, but as the years passed, the number of customers shrank, until it became a ghost town with a salsa bar. Finally, the Baja Fresh closed, but its replacement surprised me. Chipotle is opening up a new store there, a grand total of four and a half blocks from the one down the same street. The old one isn’t closing, of course, but the new one is opening just five minutes away. The obvious question here is: why?
Why open another shop just blocks from the old one? Granted, the older Chipotle has a huge share of traffic, with lines sometimes mimicking Sprinkles, but it never seems to be too much. Are the stores really so popular as to warrant another on the same street? This isn’t a rivalry, like the Starbucks across from the Coffee Bean on Beverly Drive, both of whom also have stores on North and South Beverly. The stores won’t be competing; they’re the same store! So why make a new one?
One possible explanation is the change in market. Beverly Drive and that area of Santa Monica are both popular shopping centers, but they are also separate store centers. Chipotle could be trying to squeeze into the Santa Monica market, and the new Chipotle on Beverly Drive could be a coincidence.
It still seems odd, though, that Chipotle should open a new store right up the street from its old one. To me, that Chipotle will likely never be the same. My fondest memory of those giant burritos is of giving a Japanese student his first (his only comment was that it was “hard to eat”), but the newer store is too far for most students to reach after school with ease, and the experience of getting there is a huge part of the experience.
Whatever Chipotle’s motives, the new store seems a bit too close to the old one, but who knows? Maybe that corner of Santa Monica will have its own filled to the brim Chipotle soon.