Move over Chipotle, there’s a new burrito joint coming to town.
A new Moe’s Southwest Grill is scheduled to open on West Lane Avenue Thursday. Moe’s is a fast, casual restaurant chain that serves made-to-order food such as burritos, tacos, quesadillas and salads.
“Welcome to Moe’s!” which is the signature greeting employees yell when customers enter the restaurant, might soon be heard throughout Columbus, as the chain intends to open 14 restaurants locally within the next eight years, said Clif Bullard, who owns the central Ohio franchise. The second location will likely be opening up for business in April, according to a press release.
“We really have a really friendly, fun environment. Kids love it, adults love it and our food is just better than our competitors, and a lot of people are realizing that all over the country,” Bullard said.
The newest Moe’s location is in Upper Arlington, about a mile from campus.
“We love the Lane market. We’re going to open on High Street sometime soon also,” Bullard said. “Lane and Upper Arlington is a great market and we hope that we’re close enough to have a lot of students come.”
Hannah Guttman, a second-year in occupational therapy, is from Atlanta, where Moe’s originated in December 2000, and said she is looking forward to having the restaurant open near campus.
“I like it more than Chipotle because there’s so many different options,” Guttman said. “You can get a taco salad, or a quesadilla or a burrito and they all have really fun names.”
One burrito at Moe’s is called a Homewrecker, one taco goes by the name of Funk Meister and one salad is named the Personal Trainer.
Adriana Romo, the general manager for the Chipotle Mexican Grill located at 4489 N. High St. in Clintonville, said she isn’t worried about competition from Moe’s affecting her restaurant’s business.
Operating partner and vice president of operations for Moe’s, Bryan Connelly, said the restaurant is able to provide a lively environment with a healthy menu.
“We offer hormone-free and gluten-free items and we’ve really come a long way in the organics of all of our food,” Connelly said.
Comparatively, Chipotle’s food is also hormone-free and aside from flour tortillas, is also gluten-free.
He said Moe’s is able to take over its competitors.
“We bring to Chipotle what Ohio State brings to Michigan,” he said.
Bullard said he and Connelly are excited to open their franchise in Columbus and they are looking forward to the future.
“We’re happy to be in Columbus and want to be an integral part of the community and build several stores,” Bullard said.
Moe’s Southwest Grill will be located at 1305 W. Lane Ave.
Caitlin Essig contributed to this story