Dining: Chipotle Mexican Grill confirms Rome restaurant opening ‘some point next summer.’ Likely home: East Bend.

Dining: Chipotle Mexican Grill confirms Rome restaurant opening ‘some point next summer.’ Likely home: East Bend.

An image from a Chipotle Mexican Grill from the restaurant’s Facebook page (perhaps from Portland). We have no idea yet how the Rome store will look.


Chipotle Mexican Grill is “currently scheduled to open a location in Rome, Ga., at some point next summer,” according to Regina Wu with the Newport Beach, Calif.-based chain’s corporate office. “Those are the only details I have to share right now but please do check back.”

Of course we will but for now, this confirms the latest rumored tenant for East Bend, the multimillion-dollar retail and restaurant center that will rise from the rubble of the former Kmart campus by October 2020. Panda Express and Texas Roadhouse are among the other possible restaurant tenants to be included in the 20-to-28 shop complex off Turner McCall and Hicks Drive.

The retail mix is in flux but but between the Rome News-Tribune and our sources, it looks like Discount Tire, Five Below, Old Navy, Tropical Smoothie Cafe and a few others supposedly are in the hunt as well. None are confirmed other than Chipotle. Representatives from Ledbetter Properties have said many of the tenants will be new to our area (Kennesaw to Hamilton Place were the specific borders).

So what about Chipotle:

  • First, a look at the menu (this comes from the Kennesaw location).  It includes burritos, burrito bowls, tacos, salads and sides.
  • Financials: It posted a net income of $90 million in the second quarter, almost double from a year earlier. Revenue grew 13.2 percent to $1.4 billion.
  • Growth: In those three months, Chipotle opened 20 stores and closed another. For 2019, the goal is to open 140 to 155 new restaurants (Rome will count in 2020).
  • The quote: “We’re pleased with our financial performance, which marks the sixth consecutive quarter of accelerating comps and reflects continued progress on our key strategic initiatives,” said Brian Niccol, Chief Executive Officer. “These strong results were delivered despite a tougher year over year comparison and benefited from better restaurant operations, more effective marketing, and leveraging our digital make line to grow sales and expand access.”
  • Source: Chipotle’s website, including investor relations updates.


BEFORE: The outparcel near the former Kmart during its final months as home to Fastenal, Great Clips and Little Caesar’s in Rome. Google photo. AFTER (below): Shown Monday, only the floor remains from the small strip center as demolition work has leveled most of the 20 acres we’ll soon know as East Bend. Hometown photo.

Demolition work at former Kmart has moved at an impressive rate: They’re not wasting time at the one-time home of Kmart, its express store and the small strip center off Hicks Drive in East Rome. Just about everything is now on ground or close to being part of the tons of rubble being quickly removed from the former big box store and smaller shop. Timing is critical as there’s still infrastructure work to be started at the site before the first signs of East Bend retail center will rise. Ledbetter Properties hopes to have East Bend open by October 2020.

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