Chipotle, Minimal and Uniquely Green


I’m writing this article on Chipotle, and I can’t help but think how nice a little midnight chicken burrito would taste.  I love this place.  Minimalist.  Exposed.  Clean.  And.  Green.  Ever notice the fact that no two Chipotle Restaurants look alike?  They put their restaurants in all sorts of locations, old and new.  We just got a new one in an old building, but the restaurant is nice.  It’s fantastic.  Their napkins are made of recycled content, and if my memory serves correctly, I remember reading on one of their cups that they source their beans fair trade.  But that’s not all.

The 801 Congress Avenue location of Chipotle in Austin received 4-stars under the Green Building Rating system in 2004.  This location (interior images below) has a tankless water heater, high-efficiency HVAC, low-maintenance durable recycled finishes and materials, water-based sealants, non-toxic cleaning supplies, etc.  They also used a construction recycling program when doing the build-out, too, which diverted a lot of materials from the land fill.  Word is, Chipotle will eventually work into the LEED Portfolio program.  I just hope they continue to build on the minimalist green theme as they continue to grow!



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  • Justin

    Chipolte is great. I didn’t know their building were green.

    I’m glad to see they are incorporating organic beans and humanely-raised meat into their menu.

  • grant

    “Ever notice the fact that no two Chipotle Restaurants look alike?”

    Um, NO. Every Chipotle looks almost the same to me, especially on the inside. Ah but a gigantic burrito from Chipotle does sound good right now!

  • Preston

    Okay, I guess Grant’s right about the inside, but I was thinking more about the outside. The insides do have those similarities — it’s part of their trade dress and consistency of presentation, but they put their restaurants in a variety of locations, so their exterior presence can vary quite a lot. The layout can vary, and they always try to have a porch area.

  • Brian LeBars

    That gives a whole new meaning to there GREEN sauce = )

  • David Alexander

    I will indeed look for Chipotle. Mexican food is one of the best – tasty and if you make the right choices, quite healthy.

  • Robert

    Chipotle does not “source their beans fair trade.” 25% of their beans are sourced organic, which unlike fair trade, does nothing to ensure fair labor standards or decent incomes for those producing the beans.

    In fact, Chipotle, when approached by a Florida farmworker organization called the Coalition of Immokalee Workers about collaborating to ensure fair wages and labor rights for the workers who harvest tomatoes for the chain, went out of its way to try to avoid even discussing the issue with the organization.

    PS It is only a few, 2 or 3 I think, buildings that Chipotle has that meet the Green Building Rating system standards. They have over 670 restaurants now and claim to be opening a new one every 4 days.

  • Preston

    Thanks for the clarification on the beans. In my mind, at least they’re organic. I didn’t really underline the point that only a few of their buildings are certifiably green, but that’s right. They’ve experimented with some green stores and they’re mulling an entrance in the LEED Portfolio or LEED Retail programs.

    It should also be said that I’m just talking about what I’ve noticed on Chipotle. It’s not like their PR department came to me with a story. I really couldn’t find much information, but I like what they’re doing and hope to see more green activity in the future.

  • Laura

    Yet they refuse to sign a fair trade agreement act? They have a lovely facade going on, but that is all it is.

  • Laura

    Yet they refuse to sign a fair trade agreement act? They have a lovely facade going on, but that is all it is.

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