Chipotle on East Main Street replaces old Burger King location

Gianna Cicchi, Reporter

The old Burger King on East Main Street in Kent will be replaced with a new Chipotle that offers drive-thru pickup and better outdoor seating.

The current Chipotle location on East Main Street has an unusual, one-way parking lot with limited spaces, said Tom Wilke, economic development director for the city of Kent. As the building got older and technology advanced, Chipotle needed to upgrade.

This ability to upgrade became available when the Burger King on East Main Street closed. The Burger King on South Water Street had better numbers in sales causing the East Main Street location to close in March. Since then, construction to transform it into a Chipotle has been in the works.

Pickup options have become more popular because of the pandemic. This new location will give a pick up window, better parking, a larger space and better outdoor seating, Wilke said.

“Based on everything that I’ve read, a lot of those trends that started or rather exaggerated during the pandemic are really not going to go away,” Wilke said. “People like the convenience of pickup windows and eating outside when the weather is nice.”

Endalkachew Coetzee, a Chipotle manager, is excited about the location change, and so are current Chipotle employees.

“They [the employees] are very excited, especially for the people who have been here for a few months or years and are tired of this location,” Coetzee said. “It’s just old and very small.”

The current Chipotle does online and in-store orders on the front line, making it hard to get food out quickly, but with a larger space and better technology, the staff will be able to serve their customers more efficiently, Coetzee said.

At this time, there are no plans on what will replace the old Chipotle.

“There has been a lot of interest in the property, it’s a great location,” Wilke said. “But it does have the limitations … that cause Chipotle to move up the street.”

Construction is moving quickly and Chipotle will be open for customers before Kent State University’s fall semester begins, Wilke said.

Gianna Cicchi is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]