PoP Exclusive – Chipotle Deal Sealed in Columbia Heights

by Prince Of Petworth June 2, 2009 at 10:42 pm 45 Comments


Back in April we learned of the possibility that Chipotle may be coming to 3113 14th Street in Columbia Heights. Well, I’m happy to report that I got official confirmation this evening from the developers (Donatelli Development) that Chipotle has signed the lease. You’ll see the “coming soon” sign in this space tomorrow. There is expected to be a build out of 3-4 months before they open. One slight change from the last speculation – this spot will not be serving wine or beer. It turns out, in DC, Chipotle will no longer seek liquor licenses for new franchises. I’m still a devotee of Taco Bell but I’m definitely psyched to have this option. The Chipotle fills out the Kenyon Square retail space. In addition they have The Heights, a drycleaner, a spa, a wine store, and a bank. Do you like this variety?

  • The AMT

    I’m moving to Highland Park, just across the way, next month. Love that there will shortly be a Chipotle for the occasional corporate burrito gorge – the bug bites me once a month, like clockwork.

  • Anonymous

    “corporate burrito”, good one….can we get all the predictable nonsense out of the way:

    “i love chipotle”

    “i hate chipotle”

    “why would anyone go to chipotle with all the better local options?”

    “chipotle is a chain”

    “move to the suburbs”

    “no, you move to the suburbs”

    “i’ve been here longer than you”

  • So did Chipotle not bother to apply for a beer license because they knew they’d have to run the churchie/ANC/Jim Graham gauntlet?

  • Ian

    Money paid to lawyers, neighborhood outreach, admin staff, DC permitting authority, DC permitting authority staff, 6 months of fresh cut flowers for Graham’s dashboard vase, x


    Profits from alcohol – profits of nonalcoholic beverages that will be purchased instead

  • absolutjam

    Anonymous, thank you from saving us from all of those comments. Better to get them out of the way in one message!

  • U

    I’m happy that a burrito place will be opening up there. I’m disappointed that DC will be losing out on tax revenue from alcohol, but I completely understand Chipotle’s position–who would ever want to go through the license process that doesn’t absolutely have to in order to afford their store’s rent?

  • alaaro

    I’m psyched. Now I can have my choice between my americanized burrito and my truly authentic burrito. I’m not too worried about the booze – do people really have drinks at Chipotle?

  • I drink CH Kool Aid

    the less single bottles of alcohol sold, the better. for some reason, some people in our neighborhood were taught that after finishing a bottle of alcolol, you simply leave it on the sidewalk.

  • new hampy

    in anwser to pop’s question, yes i think it’s a kenyon square has a good variety of stores for the neighborhood, with one exception – kinkos. i don’t think the kinkos is the best use of space given that there is a staples right across the street. would rather another service being provided in that space, but that’s just me. other than that, i think kenyon square is very well rounded.

  • oldmanclem

    new hampy:
    I’ll agree that there’s definitely some overlap between Kinko’s and Staples. However, Kinko’s was there first, and they’re better at what they do, and with Best Buy and Staples just upstairs, I’d go ahead and say that Staples is the waste of a storefront. But that’s just me.

  • Chipotle still uses organic wherever possible, one of its founding principles. And they design an build stores for sustainability. And, they use materials in the sale of their food products that are recyclable and biodegradable. I’ve been more impressed the more I research the company. I’m glad they’re coming to CH.


    It is too bad that the Mediterranean restaurant couldn’t pull it together before the financial environment melted in front of their very eyes. Getting a chain into the space is the best we can expect for this economic climate. As chains go, I think Chipotle is top shelf.

  • Anonymous

    Great news…after the whole Ellwood Thompson thing, I was afraid that no news was bad news. Any idea about the other vacant space in HP360 that PoP asked opinions about last month? I heard a rumor that Steven Starr is eyeing DC…perhaps someone can convince him to take one of the storefronts in DCUSA.

  • Anonymous

    First, please understand that there is nothing Latin or Hispanic or Mexican or Salvadoran about a burrito. The statement “[n]ow I can have my choice between my americanized burrito and my truly authentic burrito”, is a common misconception. The only thing latino about burritos is the name.

    Burritos are American. They were invented in the U.S., by Americans. They were not served in Latin America until gringos started going to other countries and Mexican restaurants in the U.S. and wondering (wrongly) why there were no burritos on the menu.

    So, enjoy your burritos, but understand they are as American as baseball and apple pie and as latino as the great wall of China.

    Second, f*ck Chipotle, just another brick in the wall that is the Tenlytown-ization of Columbia Heights, turning the neighborhood into anywhere USA. Boo.

  • New2CH

    One space I really wonder about that has been vacant for forever is the former furniture store in building that also houses Subway. Huge corner space, great light and tons of frontage, and I bet the rent is cheaper than the vacancies in the newer buildings. Surprised that one hasn’t been snatched up — in a better economy, imagine it would have.

  • Chewy

    @ monkeyerotica…does the Chili Cheese Burrito from Taco Bell still exist?!?! That is possibly the greatest fast food item ever and the list time I ever saw one was probably in 2000 or 2001? I tried clicking on your link but it was not opening…

  • RD

    @alaaro- do people really not enjoy a beer with mexican food? (even imposter mexican food. thanks grumpy Anon 9:42 for that ever so important clarification, and your general bitterness)

  • @ Chewy There are 716 known Taco Bells that still serve the beloved Chili Cheese Burrito. Unfortunately, none are located near DC. In the unlikely event that a DC Taco Bell does start serving them, I am almost certain the Ward 1 Councilmember will declare it a threat to public safety and immediately sponsor emergency legislation to get these dangerous foodstuffs off our streets. He will then deny having anything against Chili Cheese Burritos and that any accusation that he is trying to ban them is “absurd.”

    Also, Maryland drivers are worse than satan.

  • @ newhampy and oldmanclem — re the Kinkos and Staples, having two businesses competing against one another in the same location is a good thing for consumers. Too bad I’ve no need for office products or photocopying.

  • Stephanie

    With the addition of Chipotle, maybe the Lane Bryant will actually get some business (or more).

    Also, I’m from Maryland…and we’re not satan, just aggressive.

  • MegDC

    I don’t care if it’s a chain, this is the best news EVER!

  • E

    The whole Chipotle idea sounds good to me…I know Chipotle is a chain, but if all chain rest. would serve such amazing burritos, I would not have such a problem against them. BY THE WAY, HOW MANY MORE DRY-CLEANERS DO WE NEED IN COLUMBIA HEIGHTS…..why not a hot, original clothing store!!!? or something else besides ANOTHER DRYCLEANER….

  • stavros

    Count me in on the Taco Bell Chili Cheese Burrito, though I miss the days when they were known simply as the Chilito. I’ll have mine with extra cheese and sour cream, please….

  • @Anonymous 9:42, growing up near there, I can tell you that Tenley people weren’t exactly thrilled with the “Tenleytown-ization” of Tenleytown. The only big out-of-town company there growing up was the Sears.

    I know that recent trends make it easy to conflate gentrification, the availability of high-end retail, the influx of bland corporate retail, and streetscape improvements, but they really are four separate things.

  • Kay

    @anon 7:29am – you forgot hipster somewhere in there!

  • holmeadhomey

    What’s the deal with the spa people? Does anyone really go there? That’s the only business in Keyon Square that seems out of place to me now. As for Chipotle, hey it’s better than an empty store front!

  • new hampy

    2b3s – i’m not disputing the fact that business competition is a good thing. i just have a hard time believing that there is such high demand for office supplies/ photocopying/ packaging in that neighborhood and think that the kinkos space provide be a better neighborhood amenity if it were say a gymboree, an art supply store, a mid$ resturant, an arcade, a color-me-mine … the list goes on and on.

  • Anonymous

    “it’s better than an empty storefront” = settling for less.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t don’t forget the UPS Store around the corner from Ruby Tuesday. CH has just about every copy/ship/office supply option one could ask for… strangely enough.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t see how the CH Staples is staying in business but I’m not going to complain about it. I’ve been taking a bunch of old toner cartridges from my office in for recycling and the people who work at the check out could not be friendlier. Oh and I get a $3 credit for each toner.

  • alaaro

    @ RD – True, but I guess I see chipotle as a quick lunch or dinner on the run, not a meal I’d be having drinks with. But that’s just me. I’m all for booze being served, but it doesn’t make a difference for me at Chipotle.

    @ Anon 9:42 – Point taken. We’ll call it truly americanized versus american invention served in latino restaurants. Regardless, there is a big difference between what I can get at Distrito Federal and what I can get at Chipotle. Sometimes one craves one, sometimes one craves the other.

    As for chain versus local businesses – this has been an ongoing debate forever. People might as well accept that local businesses cant open new stores as easily in this economic environment as chains can. Big deal. They will come in time, as the businesses that ARE here continue to thrive.

  • CM

    But Chipotle puts cilantro in their rice, GROSS!!

  • Solong

    Monkey- anyone who saw the profile piece on you simply can not take your concerns of a Chipotle induced heart attack seriously. BTW, thanks for the advice on the cheesesteak at Philly Water Ice.

  • Shawn

    YESSSSSSS. I had chipotle for lunch today. It is my favorite burrito in the wooorrrllddddd.

  • New2CH

    Solong — I missed the advice and I love good cheesesteak (which is hard to find around here) — is the advice to eat it, or not to?

  • Kalia

    my gut just did a backflip in celebration! Now if only my gut would start exercising and get a job!

  • @New2CH – Eat the cheesesteak. Eat the hell out of it.

  • Dog walker

    The Chipotle meal is not the burrito but the pork carnitas crispy tacos. When I go to Chipotle with my little kids on the weekend, I love a cold beer with my pork tacos. Just one, just enough.

    And I biked down to H street today for a cheese steak with Wiz. Just a 1/2 but I wasn’t all boozed up to warrant the whole. And it was effing delicious.

  • @ New Hampy — if, as you presume, the demand for office products and the like is not sufficient to support both the Kinkos and Office Depot, absent subsidization, the more efficient of the two will put the other one out of business.

  • Chewy

    @ monkeyerotica…oh my god, that website just made my year so far! There are 2 in Huntsville, AL and I am going there for work next week! On University Ave. none the less! This has been 8 years in the making!!!

  • Mexico

    Anon942 is wrong. The burrito is a mexican invention. American burritos are different, but the concept is the same. They come from northern mexico. Even wikipedia knows this.


  • Anonymous

    I knew someone was gonna cite that wikipedia entry, which is completely fabricated!!!!

    Burritos are American. Tacos are Mexican.

  • anon


  • TobyTX

    Hey Mexico, check out the Wikipedia burrito timeline (only on the Internet could such a thing exist).


  • Mexico

    I don’t care about wikipedia. Cite whatever, the burrito is from Juarez. Go there and ask. I have.


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