Chipotle Is Testing a New Spinoff Restaurant for the First Time in Years—Here's What You Need to Know

We already have some feedback.

Chipotle Storefront
Photo: Courtesy of Chipotle/Allrecipes

This week, Chipotle announced they're opening a new restaurant called Farmesa, a new spinoff fast casual concept. The restaurant, whose name is a portmanteau of farm and mesa (Spanish for table), aims to merge (aptly) farm-to-table fresh cuisine with the same customizable build-your-own format that has been so successful for Chipotle. Here's everything you need to know about the new restaurant.

What's on the Menu at Farmesa

Many are speculating Farmesa is Chipotle's attempt to contend with competitors like Cava, Sweetgreen, and Chopt. Rather than sticking to a core cuisine like Mexican, Japanese, or Italian (the focuses of Chipotle's last two spinoff restaurants, which shuttered in 2017), the new restaurant will focus more broadly on, "a commitment to fresh ingredients," with an "eclectic" menu.

Farmesa's menu was developed by James Beard award-winning chef, Nate Appleman, who led menu innovations for Chipotle in the 2000s. The restaurant will serve a variety of bowls, each featuring a protein, green or grain, two vegetable-forward sides, a choice of one of five sauces, and a topping.

A press release reveals the full menu will include dishes like Santa Maria-Style Grilled Tri-Tip Steak, Everything Spice-Crusted Salmon, Whipped Potatoes, Golden Beets, Sprouted Cauliflower, and Sweet Potato Chips.

When & Where Is Farmesa Opening?

Farmesa's first location will have a soft opening this month with a more limited menu and shorter hours, but plans to be fully launched by March. The fast casual concept is located in Santa Monica, California, however, don't expect to be able to go and chat with a worker about the menu in person.

Farmesa will operate out of a ghost kitchen in the Kitchen United Mix space on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Customers will be able to order via kiosks on site, or more notably, the concept will be available for pick-up or delivery on third-party apps like UberEats and DoorDash.

The reasoning? According to Nate Lawton, Vice President of New Ventures at Chipotle, it gives the company the ability to test out the concept faster.

"Launching Farmesa in the Kitchen United Mix food hall in Santa Monica and partnering with third-party partners for pickup or delivery will allow us to reach a large number of consumers, learn quickly, and evolve our concept and menu so that we can deliver on our goals before expanding," Lawton said.

To order once Farmesa opens (although, there's no word on exactly when that will be), go to Kitchen United Mix's website, or participating delivery apps.

What We Think

While we love that Chipotle has finally (seemingly) put forth an answer to competitors like Cava and returned to their tried-and-true "bowl" formula, we've got some initial hesitations. For one, though it's been speculated, it has not been confirmed whether the bowls will actually be customizable, or offered as pre-set menu items. And, if they are customizable, how that will affect the price.

Secondly, we are not fans of the current methods for ordering. Not being able to see the food made removes almost all of the appeal for us. The best part of getting Chipotle (or other fast-casual build-your-own chains) is being able to talk to the workers. You get more control over exactly which items—and how much—make it into your bowl, and ultimately (usually!) you end up with much more food than if you ordered delivery.

The jury's still out on Farmesa, and only time will tell what the public thinks, too. For now, we'll continue to enjoy our burrito bowls and count down the days until the Steak Fajita Quesadilla hits the Chipotle menu.

Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love