Tasty Made, the long-rumored new better-burger concept by Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., is readying its debut.
Chipotle executives confirmed Thursday that it will open a restaurant in Lancaster, Ohio, this fall that will serve burgers, fries and shakes with the same commitment to sustainable ingredients as the company’s namesake brand.
The move comes as Chipotle battles to bring customers back to its 2,000-unit primary brand after a foodborne illness crisis last year.
In a statement, Steve Ells, Chipotle founder, chairman and co-CEO, expressed admiration for early fast-food burger restaurants that generally had very focused menus.
“We think there’s great strength in that original fast-food model and wanted to create a restaurant build around that,” Ells said. “Making only burgers, fries and shakes with really great ingredients we think we can appeal to peoples’ timeless love of burgers, but in a way that is consistent with our long-term vision.”
Chipotle has long argued that its model can be applied to other types of cuisine. The company is also slowly growing 14-unit ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, and has invested in the four-unit fast-casual pizza concept Pizzeria Locale.
As at Chipotle’s other concepts, Tasty Made burgers will use Responsibly Raised beef from animals raised humanely without the use of antibiotics or added hormones.
Chipotle has turned to overseas sources for beef that meets such standards, saying the supply is not yet available in the U.S. It’s not clear whether Tasty Made beef will be from domestic or foreign sources.
Tasty Made shakes will be made with milk, cream, sugar, eggs and other natural ingredients, Ells said. Buns will also be free of preservatives, dough conditioners and other artificial ingredients.
The chain has tapped chefs Nate Appleman, who was key in developing the ShopHouse menu, and David Chrisman, to develop Tasty Made.
A James Beard award winner, Appleman joined Chipotle in 2010 as culinary manager. His background includes stints at high-end restaurants such as A16 in San Francisco and Pulino’s in New York. Chrisman is a 17-year Chipotle veteran who most recently served as national training director. Both are native Ohioans.
Further details were not revealed, but Tasty Made appears similar to West Coast cult favorite In-N-Out Burger, which for more than six decades has stuck to a brief menu of never-frozen burgers, handmade shakes and fries cooked from real potatoes in each restaurant.
Privately held In-N-Out, based in Irvine, Calif., has restaurants in six Western states. But because meat processing is tightly controlled, and the company will only open restaurants within a day’s drive of processing plants, In-N-Out is not likely to become a national chain anytime soon.