Kendall Square is heating up in the coming months with the addition of a new Chipotle restaurant. The Mexican fast-food chain, set to open in the spring of 2012 at 3 Cambridge Center, will be one of over a dozen new restaurants that have opened in the Kendall Square area in the past two years.
The Chipotle — a divergence from Kendall Square’s primarily sit-down restaurants like Legal Sea Foods — was chosen in particular as a “quick-serve” venue to target the casual student and on-the-go population that frequents the area, said Travis McCready, executive director of the Kendall Square association. The association, according to its website, serves to “establish a shared vision for the future of Kendall Square.”
“It’s all part of the desire to create a more vibrant community,” said McCready. The restaurant is part of an effort to appeal to all customers of Kendall Square: entrepreneurs, business-owners, students, and the “several thousand” residents, said McCreedy. “It’s part of the equation — if you have that mixture … you need a retail element that services that population.”
McCreedy added that future plans for the area include a drug store, which Kendall Square does not currently have, another restaurant, and a bakery/coffee shop opening up on 3rd Street — the latter two of which are set to open in a few months.
Robert Winters, a mathematics instructor at MIT who is involved in Cambridge politics and runs the online Cambridge Civic Journal, said that Boston Properties, a real estate investment trust that owns much of the land in Kendall Square, has “stepped up to the plate” to make the area “less monolithic.”
“Kendall Square,” said Winters, “was historically a dead place when people went home from work, but now it’s becoming a real place.” Winters also mentioned that Boston Properties has future plans for adding more housing in the area, and that such efforts are making Kendall Square a more “sellable” location.
Students had mixed reactions to the announcement of the new Chipotle. Nicholas J. Prus ’15, was happy to hear about it.
“I’m a big fan of Chipotle,” he said, “so this comes as big news to me. Even though I’m on the 19-meal plan, it’s almost worth it to spend an extra $10 and extra time to go to Chipotle.”
Bonny Jain ’14, was less excited, “Sometimes I have a burrito craving … which an Anna’s burrito right in the middle of campus can satisfy.”
Jeffrey Warren ’15 also said, “If it were located at Anna’s Taqueria, I would be interested; however, I am not willing to make the trek over to Kendall.”
According to Winters, there are also current plans in front of the Cambridge licensing commission to open a Chipotle in Central Square in the former location of the recently-closed Wendy’s.
Students and other members of the MIT community will have more food options to look forward to as both the Kendall and Central Square areas expand and develop.