From the moment it opened at 1644 East Evans Avenue, close by the University of Denver, Chipotle Mexican Grill a hip storefront joint that served giant burritos, was a giant hit. Three years later, the homegrown chain had three Denver locations -- and a notion of going national, as Westword reported here.
And Chipotle founder Steve Ells didn't stop there. "When I created Chipotle in 1993, I had a very simple idea: Offer a simple menu of great food prepared fresh each day, using many of the same cooking techniques as gourmet restaurants," Ells offers as his company perspective. "Then serve the food quickly, in a cool atmosphere. It was food that I wanted, and thought others would like too. We've never strayed from that original idea. The critics raved and customers began lining up at my tiny burrito joint. Since then, we've opened a few more."
And then some.
Today, Chipotle has hundreds of locations, and this year will expand overseas, with a spot opening in London. But even as the company has grown, so has Ells's interest in creating the healthiest chain of fast-food restaurants, changing the way America eats one burrito at a time.
That's what he'll talk about today, when he chats it up with Oprah Winfrey, alongside Michael Pollan and Alicia Silverstone. The Oprah episode, titled "Before You Grocery Shop Again: Food 101 With Michael Pollan," airs at 4 p.m. on CBS4 in Denver.
After you watch the show, stop by the original store and taste where it all began.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.