the chain gang

Chipotle Snags Home Space at Church and Market, Will Open Next Year

Home, which has been dark and for lease since August 2011.

Home, which has been dark and for lease since August 2011.Photo: inetours

It's been almost exactly one year since Home (2100 Market Street) closed in the Castro, after declaring bankruptcy over a sticky situation involving the liquor license — the large, enclosed back patio was never licensed to serve booze ... oops. Today Grub Street gets the exclusive news that a lease has been signed for the prime corner spot, and the new tenant is none other than Chipotle. The company obviously has the resources to resolve the liquor license situation, and they will be securing a full one since they'll be serving both beer and margaritas. And this will be a first for Chipotle in the Bay Area in terms of its size and situation as an urban neighborhood location. As the company's director of communications, Chris Arnold, tells us, "Our locations so far in the Bay Area have been in high-traffic areas or more suburban areas, and this marks the start of a move into more urban neighborhoods which we're really excited about."

The news of a chain restaurant (re-)taking the space is bound to cause a bit of a kerfuffle when it comes to the neighborhood, though, and the Planning Commission — there's long been a moratorium on fast food and formula retail in the Castro proper, but we're not sure if this address falls within the neighborhood limits or if it can be argued that Chipotle isn't fast food. Also, that moratorium hasn't stopped Starbucks. As ammunition for their cause, Chipotle will surely bring that tear-jerking animated video of cute pigs and eschewing factory farm.

Locals will recall that over ten years back, this spot was originally a Boston Market.

San Francisco, meanwhile, is close to the heart of CEO and Founder Steve Ells, since he started his restaurant career in the kitchen at Stars, under Jeremiah Tower. And as Chris Arnold further tells us, "The taquerias in the Mission district were what inspired Ells in creating the Chipotle brand." The first Chipotle was opened in Denver in 1993 in a former Dolly Madison Ice Cream shop.

Chipotle currently has eight locations in San Francisco, with a ninth set to go into the former Loehman's at 211 Sutter Street, as Eater reported last week. The former Home spot would bring that number to ten, if all goes according to plan. The ink is barely dry on the lease and design discussions have barely begun. We're looking at "many months" away according to their rep, so we're putting this one in early to mid-2013.

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