Rumor control: Chipotle coming to Tunnel Road


Rumors of a Chipotle restaurant coming to Asheville have been running hot and heavy for more than a year now. First Chipotle was rumored to be looking downtown. Then Chipotle was rumored to be looking at Merrimon Avenue. Now here’s the latest, posted at Reddit Asheville:

Actually, the word through the grapevine is that the Chick-Fil-A going up by the Harris Teeter raised a big stink about having a competing chicken restaurant. The Chipotle had to move locations. It’s now going up across from the Barnes & Noble, over by the new Whole Foods that’s being built.

As the commenter says, there’s a new Whole Foods grocery store under construction on Tunnel Road across from the Asheville Mall, on the former site of a Kmart store. There will be other new stores moving into the complex. We’ll have to keep an eye on this. I will note that, for the record, the Chipotle corporate Twitter account handler recently answered a query about plans for an Asheville restaurant by saying there were no such plans. Whole Foods background here.

Kmart demolition photos.



Chipotle coming to Hendersonville Road in South Asheville December 2, 2013 - 3:00 pm

[…] long hoped for the arrival of Chipotle and its tasty burritos, and over the past couple of years, rumors have been flying about possible Chipotle locations. Downtown Asheville, Merrimon Avenue and Tunnel Road have all been bandied about as possible […]

yep November 11, 2013 - 10:34 pm

NFB is spot on. Asheville has this strange habit of demonizing chains except when they are embracing them. Saying they don’t want chains downtown except for chains somehow deemed ‘ok’.

indie November 12, 2013 - 12:32 pm

Very true. I’ve been looking for a list of the approved chains, but can’t find one.

Orbit DVD November 14, 2013 - 8:00 am

Well, people jeered at Starbucks but cheered for Dunkin’ Donuts.

weavervilleman November 11, 2013 - 9:34 pm

they heard wrong, it isnt Chipotle but its Neo Burrito

Ron November 12, 2013 - 11:20 am

Yep. See my comment, above. Jason could confirm with a call to Zak Yancey, owner of Neo Burrito.

NFB November 11, 2013 - 8:35 pm

Asheville’s a funny place. We hate chains but please give us a Chipolte, a Nordstom, and a Costco.

We urge people to shop at local businesses but hey, when Trader Joe’s comes to town and displaces THREE of them we welcome a chain with open arms.

Chains downtown are bad, unless they are Mellow Mushroom, Marble Slab, Mast General Store, Jimmy Johns…

chris November 11, 2013 - 9:35 pm

Asheville is large. It contains multitudes.

NFB November 12, 2013 - 8:32 pm

Yeah, I know. You’re right — Asheville contains a large swath of people with differing views on the idea of chains and my original post does paint with a broad brush.

At the same time I think there is some noticeable overlap between people who often gripe about chains and the need to support local businesses who were very excited to have Trader Joe’s come to town and who gave the fact that it was displacing three locally owned businesses the sound of crickets. A lot of them are also cheering Chipolte, and clamoring for a Costco and a Nordstrom.

Z November 11, 2013 - 10:27 pm

Gimmee a friggin break. Do you think anyone but a downtown merchant really gives a crap? Nowadays, people would rather see something than nothing. The tourists will take over Asheville eventually and tourists like Chipotle. And Mellow Mushroom. And Mast. Urban Outfitters? Remember what that replaced….a CVS.
What are the THREE mom&pops you refer to?

indie November 12, 2013 - 12:30 pm

Actually, Urban Outfitters went into a vacant building. CVS had closed long before.

JT November 12, 2013 - 3:24 pm

They are probably talking about New York Fashions, the dry cleaners, and maybe the Liberty Tax place that rented out the Merrimon/Chestnut building that used to be at the TJ location.

I mean… yeah, they were small local businesses. But as far as number of jobs and tax $$ produced Trader Joe’s probably beats all of those combined. New York Fashions had some great sweatpants though.

Nate November 12, 2013 - 6:53 am

This seems to be really challenging for some people to grasp, but we are a city of over 80,000 people in a county of over two hundred thousand people . . . believe it or not, there can be more than one overlapping opinion in a group that large! Trying to hunt for “consistency” in the randomly-sampled opinions of a giant group of people is about the most asinine pastime I can imagine.

roo November 11, 2013 - 8:02 pm

They’re actually a pretty interesting company. Made a deal with McDevil and then bought themselves back to independent.

FDR November 11, 2013 - 6:29 pm

Remember hater hipsters they started in Denver as a small business trying to make it. I was lucky enough to eat there.

PDizzy November 13, 2013 - 2:45 pm

And now it’s owned by McDonalds…what’s your point?

Harry November 13, 2013 - 8:40 pm

McDonald’s hasn’t had a stake in Chipotle since 2006. Please keep up!

doghaus28815 November 11, 2013 - 5:11 pm

Please let it be true!!!!

localforeel November 11, 2013 - 5:08 pm

Yup…already seen the plans…stay tuned

Ron November 11, 2013 - 7:35 pm

If it’s true then Neo Burrito got booted from the Whole Foods Plaza: “Neo Burrito will become one of the tenants in the Whole Foods-anchored shopping center that’s under development on Tunnel Road. Yancey hopes for future neighborly relations with the natural foods chain. “We have a lot of the same values as far as how we treat our customers,” he says. “We think the demographic we’re looking for is very similar to Whole Foods.”” (

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