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"because it's the right thing to do"
by Kerrie Sparks // food-sparks.com
When standing in your local Chipotle, starving, staring at the steam table of components,
you may not be thinking about the LED lighting in the bathrooms, the Energy Star
equipment in the kitchen, or even the fact that Chipotle holds the title for the number
one restaurant seller of naturally raised meat — in the world. You’re probably just
really hungry for an exceptionally great burrito that’s the size of a muffler. And you’re
probably right there with about two-thirds of the nation.
|But…would you love that burrito even more if you knew that the meat came from a
local sustainable farmer, a derivative of Chipotle’s ‘Food With Integrity’ mission?
Or that the walls are dressed in low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) primers
and paints? Like the artwork on the walls? It’s made from everyday items you
can find at your local Home Depot, like corrugated metal, plywood, and steel,
artfully arranged by Bruce Gueswel of MayaTek.
Chipotle’s Director of Design, Scott L. Shippey, LEED AP, weighed in for me on three Texas
locations: Dallas’ West End, Austin’s on Congress, and Houston’s on Louetta.
KS: Did you have a hand in all three Chipotle locations?
SS: Congress and Louetta
KS: Each space has a distinct design, who/what drove the design concept for each
SS: Functionality is first and foremost. We solve any site-specific issues and then ensure
that the restaurant operates as efficiently as possible for the manager and crew. From
there we work with our standard kit of parts (materials). There’s a certain amount of
flexibility within this palette of materials that allows each dining room to be unique.
KS: With the Dallas and Austin locations you chose to rehabilitate an existing space. What
challenges and/or treasures did you encounter during these renovations?
SS: One great benefit is location. For both sites it was an opportunity to enter a dense
downtown market. The challenges come once you start demo and turn up hidden
conditions that you didn’t plan on. But in the end it’s well worth it. These historic spaces
have a richness of character that you can’t duplicate in new construction.
KS: Chipotle has launched an initiative to source food products locally, specifically
sustainably raised meats, do they also source their building materials locally for each new
SS: We are always working to reflect FWI (Food With Integrity) in everything we do in
Development. That’s what led us to pursue green certifications in Austin, LEED
certifications in Chicago, Minneapolis, and Long Island, and it’s what pushes us to be
better in every aspect of design and development.
KS: What is the most prevalent building material used among all locations?
SS: Most people relate the corrugated steel wainscot to Chipotle. That’s very flattering
when you are able to take a rudimentary material and use it in a way that people
positively identify it with your restaurant
KS: If could choose any Chipotle location, which are you most proud of and why?
SS: Gurnee Mills north of Chicago. First LEED Platinum restaurant and we produce a small
portion of our energy through a 6kW wind turbine on site.
KS: Favorite burrito component?
SS: Fajitas (sautéed peppers and onions).
KS: Salsa choice?
KS: Websites/blogs you can’t live without?
SS: Facebook. Boring but true.
KS: Last album you downloaded?
SS: Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. But mostly I steal songs from my 12 year old son.
Interested in seeking out these Chipotle
locations during your Texas travels this
summer? Plug these into your
navigation and hit the road:
West End Chipotle
208 N. Market Street
Dallas, TX 75202
Congress Ave. Chipotle
801 Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701
Louetta Road Chipotle
10905 Louetta Rd.
Houston, TX 77070
or click here to find a location near you.
My favorite burrito you ask? Actually I prefer the three soft tacos with rice, black beans,
carnitas, fresh and corn salsas, cheese, sour cream, and a side of hot salsa. Mmm,
salivating, I must order it for lunch today!
for more information about Chipotle - visit www.chipotle.com
Kerrie Sparks is the art director of a North Texas arts and architecture magazine
and has quite the foodie following at www.food-sparks.com.