Chipotle announced this morning it is opening a new restaurant concept, called Farmesa, at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California – a little over an hour from the chain’s Newport Beach headquarters.
According to a press release, the concept will soft open with a limited menu and hours before its official open in March. The bowl-centric menu was curated by James Beard Award-winning chef Nate Appleman, who is also serving as director of culinary innovation at Farmesa. Appleman previously led menu innovation for Chipotle in the late 2000s, the company said.
Farmesa’s bowls will be priced between $11.95 and $16.95, each featuring a protein, green or grain, two sides, a choice of five sauces and a topping option. The full menu will also include options like Classic Santa Maria-Style Grilled Tri-Tip Steak, Everything Spice-Crusted Ora King Salmon, Whipped Potatoes, Golden Beets, Sprouted Cauliflower, and Sweet Potato Chips, as well as Tractor Beverage Co. beverages and sparkling water.
The concept is located in a Kitchen United Mix space, and guests can order onsite via kiosk or online through the kitchenunited.com/santamonica website. Pickup and delivery through third-party apps are also available. Other concepts in the Kitchen United Mix Third Street Promenade space include Duck Donuts, Cookie Chaos, LoLo’s Tacos and 101 Burger.
In a statement, Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol said, “One of our strategic objectives is to create or invest in emerging culinary spaces and restaurant concepts that fit within Chipotle’s food with integrity mission and make fresh food daily.”
He added that the Farmesa concept was developed by the company’s New Ventures team, which was formed in 2022. The concept, he said, “uses classic culinary techniques with flavorful ingredients in a fast casual setting that we’re excited to test and learn on before we determine a broader rollout strategy.”
Nate Lawton, vice president of New Ventures, added that the concept’s location in the Kitchen United Mix food hall will help Farmesa reach a large number of consumers, learn quickly and evolve before expanding.
“We believe there’s an opportunity to serve premium, craveable food every day and we’re eager to bring this new concept to life,” he said.
In a note, Citi analyst Jon Tower said, “We think the Farmesa Fresh Eatery brand does signal the company sees an opportunity to grow beyond its core concept utilizing many of the attributes of the Chipotle brand.” Chipotle has tested other concepts before, including ShopHouse Asian Kitchen, which opened in 2011 and grew to 15 locations before the chain closed all locations in 2017. Being no stranger to bowls, the company may have more success with Farmesa. Chipotle continues to hold a stake in Pizzeria Locale, which includes five units.
Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]