Ann Koblenzer

Many students travel out of Oxford to visit Chipotle restaurants like the one in Colerain (above). A design team in the region is looking to expand the chain’s presence to Oxford, despite the proximity to Qdoba and other Mexican restaurants uptown.

There’s another piece in the puzzle of what could potentially fill vacancies uptown-Chipotle may move in to a vacant retail space in a new development.

According to Zac Maxwell, service manger of Chipotle in Hamilton, nothing is finalized until the building is actually built, but they have already put a design team together and want a presence in Oxford.

Oxford mayor Prue Dana said she is excited to see a known name develop in the middle of town. She said Oxford is often overlooked when chains choose locations to develop because they don’t have a large population.

“It disappoints us when we get passed over by larger, well-known stores … we think we have a good customer base with students, staff and visiting parents,” Dana said.

Maxwell said Oxford is the ideal location for a restaurant like Chipotle.

“Chipotle likes to see themselves as a campus type of restaurant,” Maxwell said. “We are really laid back and it goes with the tone in Oxford.”

Dana said she hopes this shows other large franchise, whether clothing or restaurants, that Oxford is place to develop.

“Its not easy to get here (Oxford), but once get here there are special things here,” Dana said.

Maxwell isn’t worried about Qdoba, a similar restaurant, being so close in proximity.

“There is no comparison between the two,” Maxwell said. “People who don’t want to wait in the lines will probably go to Qdoba.”

Dana said the addition of another Mexican restaurant will increase competition of the other Mexican restaurant and give people a choice about where to go.

There is no official opening date yet and Maxwell said a variety of things could slow down the process or speed it up.

“I know its one location people are looking forward to,” Maxwell said. “What really slows us down is Chipotle tries to go as green as possible and I think they will try to use as many recycled materials as possible.”

Dana said in the city’s zoning laws the first floor of buildings has to be commercial and Chipotle will have to submit plans to the planning department and the city will do their best to keep them on schedule.

“Building big buildings isn’t easy, it takes time, its complicated and you never know what snags you will run into until you do,” Dana said.

The restaurant could also offer employment for Miami students.

“We are always looking for people who love a fast paced environment, like to have fun and are really interested in food with integrity,” Maxwell said.

Qdoba did not return requests for comment as of Monday evening.

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