FLORENCE, S.C. – The franchise capital of the Pee Dee will have another jewel in its crown this summer with the planned opening of a Chipotle Mexican Grill.
The restaurant is known for good Mexican food fast, but doesn’t call it fast food per se, featuring fresh gourmet burritos with their signature cilantro rice as well as burrito bowls, salads and tacos using fresh, sustainable ingredients.
Mackenzie Webb of Magnolia Mall confirmed Wednesday the site is under construction near Buffalo Wild Wings.
“I can confirm it is the location for Chipotle. It was just confirmed last week and construction has started and there is no official opening date yet other than summer 2013,” Webb said. “The nearest Chipotle is 70 miles, so they’re the first in the market.”
Chipotle's direct competitor is Moe's Southwest Grill, located in Florence at Florence Mall.
A Chipotle official initially denied rumors of a new location being built in late November, saying, “We don't discuss plans for specific sites until we have space under lease and construction is scheduled. At this time, we don't have anything in that location that meets those criteria.”
Changing its tune Wednesday, the company confirmed the new location and construction will begin in March, but also did not release a formal opening date.
Webb said the 2,250-square-foot restaurant will sit in a prime location in Florence.
“The restaurant locations do well over here,” Webb said. “It’s a perfect intersection for travelers and locals and gives more options for travelers and local shoppers.”
Chipotle was founded in 1993, and in 1998 McDonald's heavily invested in the then-small chain, growing it into more than 500 locations before divesting in 2006.
Chipotle prides itself on sourcing its ingredients such as pork, chicken and beef from sustainable, natural and humane sources.
The restaurants are known for the assembly line efficiency, fresh ingredients, quirky promotions and sustainably designed stores featuring interiors consisting of woods and aluminum.
Chipotle is NYSE listed under CMG and closed at $239.74, down 0.17 percent.