Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. has expanded the test of a new tofu-based vegetarian protein called Sofritas to the menu at all 96 of its restaurants in northern California, the company said this week.
The Denver-based fast-casual chain tested the menu item earlier this year in seven San Francisco restaurants. The protein, available for burritos, tacos, bowls or salads, is made with organic, non-genetically modified shredded tofu braised with chipotle chilis, roasted poblanos and spices.
“We are maintaining our commitment to fresh, fast and healthy food with the addition of Sofritas,” said Steve Ells, founder, chair and co-chief executive of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., in a statement. “We are so excited to be able to offer something new to accommodate our vegetarian and vegan clientele — and we believe that once other customers taste it, its deliciousness will speak for itself.”
Chipotle is one of few national restaurant chains that have attempted to offer tofu as a mainstream menu item, other than Asian concepts like Panda Express, Pei Wei Asian Diner and Genghis Grill, which have long offered tofu dishes.
The move is Chipotle’s second attempt at pleasing vegetarian and vegan customers. The 1,400-unit chain previously tested a grain-based vegetarian protein called Garden Blend that was later scrapped.
Chipotle’s Sofritas is made by Oakland, Calif.-based supplier Hodo Soy Beanery, which also makes tofu used in some of San Francisco’s top independent restaurants, including The Slanted Door, State Bird Provisions, Coi and Locavore.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: April 15, 2013 An earlier version of this story incorrectly indicated sofritas was a permanent menu addition in Northern California. It is still considered in test.