By Destiny Mitchell
Many students’ wish of a Mexican mariachi band in their stomachs is about to be granted as plans to build a Chipotle Mexican Grill in the unoccupied lot near the local Jewel Osco are underway.
Sophomore Eryn Casey is the daughter of Anita Casey, the Chief Executive Officer of Chipotle organizations in the Midwest region, working under founder Steve Ells.
Anita says that Chipotle has been looking to expand it’s franchise into smaller towns with less food diversity.
“Looking at the Kankakee and Bourbonnais area, I notice a lot of the more long-running, top-tier chain restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger Kings and Taco Bells,” Anita said. “[Chipotle] recognizes that there is a high demand for new and popular chains like Chipotle, and so we want to be able to meet those needs.”
She also explained that the restaurant wants to cater to travelers passing through more rural areas, as well as other visitors.
“It’s been hard to keep this secret to myself,” Eryn admitted. “But now that this plan is much more finite, I’m really excited for the impact that this is going to have on our campus, in the community, and in my home.”
Eryn also shared that she has been talking and working with her mother on arranging a special treat specific to ONU students.
“I’ve thrown several ideas at [my mother],” Eryn said.
“We were thinking about having a special Olivet student discount, or getting set up so that [Chipotle] could accept Tiger dollars. Or even giving away ‘Free Burrito’s for Life’ cards periodically.”
Though those ideas are still in the rough as the organization is just getting past the preliminary stage of planning and resourcing to start construction, Eryn believes that some sort of arrangement will be made in order to service the student body.
“I’m her daughter so what I say and suggest holds a lot of weight. She listens to me,” she laughed.
Construction for the Chipotle Mexican Grill is set to start in May and conclude in early December. The chain hopes to be open for business in time for the Spring 2015 semester for students.
Freshman and self-proclaimed burrito aficionado Ben Steele believes that the outcome is worth the wait.
“I would have to say that one of the hardest transitions of graduating high school and starting college is the sudden shortage of quality Mexican food in my life,” he said.
“Sure we have Taco Bell and Taco Johns but those are only good for if you’re really broke at the moment and happen to be craving beans and rice, so getting a nearby Chipotle is like a dream come true for me.”