Chipotle Mexican Grill, Philly Pretzel Factory on track for May 1 openings
By LYNETTE SOWELL
On May 1, two new stores will open in Copperas Cove, one of them next door to Jersey Mike's Subs and the other located in a storefront at H-E-B Plus!. Both Chipotle Mexican Grill and Philly Pretzel Factory have had delays from their original time frames to open.
Chipotle Mexican Grill
The location for Copperas Cove's Chipotle Mexican Grill has been under construction since early 2016, with the restaurant having a targeted opening date of May 1, said Danielle Moore, Public Relations and Communications Manager for Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.
Those interested in applying for jobs should visit Chipotle's hiring website, jobs.chipotle.com, and search for the Copperas Cove location. The restaurant will employ 25-30 people and is currently hiring for all positions.
Known for its made-to-order burritos, tacos and salads, Chipotle's motto is “Food With Integrity.” The quick-service dining stores sell the requisite chips, salsa and guacamole, as well as soft drinks, beer, and margaritas. The first restaurant opened in 1993 and there are more than 1,700 Chipotle restaurants nationwide.
The company also established the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation in 2011 to extend its commitment to creating a more sustainable food future. Since its inception, the foundation has contributed more than $3 million to like-minded organizations committed to cultivating a better world through food.
Chipotle's CEO, Steve Ells, issued a statement about the company's rough road during the last five months of 2015 after 243 customers at one California store and 143 at a Boston store were infected with Norovirus, and as many as 60 customers in 11 states reportedly had E. coli.
”To achieve our goal of establishing leadership in food safety, we collaborated with preeminent food safety experts to design a comprehensive food safety program that dramatically reduces risk on our farms, throughout the supply chain, and in our restaurants,” Ells announced.
The company briefly closed its locations nationwide on February 8, 2016 to roll out new sanitation procedures and implement additional food safety training for all restaurant employees. The company also implemented an employee wellness and incentive structure to help prevent the Norovirus infections that occurred in California and Boston.
“Our menu has remained virtually unchanged for the last 22 years and we only have 64 ingredients in our food,” said Ells. “Rest assured that we have looked at each of these ingredients, where they come from and how they can be made even safer. I believe our restaurants are safer today than they have ever been.”
Philly Pretzel Factory
Phil and Mesha Agnello of Belton are on the way to seeing the first Philly Pretzel Factory in Texas to open in Copperas Cove. The original grand opening date had been projected for February 1, but delays pushed that date to May 1, said Andy Sroka on behalf of the Agnellos.
Locals should watch for a sign to be posted announcing the store this weekend, he added.
Phil Agnello, an East Coast native with family in New Jersey, has a cousin who owns five franchises in their home state. A spring 2015 visit prompted Phil and Mesha to contemplate opening a franchise in Texas.
The Philly Pretzel Factory is located in a leased retail space at the Copperas Cove H-E-B Plus!, and has its own dedicated entrance. It will be primarily a takeout store, with possibly a few tables.
Currently some of the construction near the H-E-B site is related to infrastructure for the new store.
The 800-square-foot store will have six to eight employees, with the Agnellos involved in the day-to-day operations. Phil told the Leader-Press in a prior interview that he and his wife would like to open locations in Killeen and Belton in the future.
There are 155 Philly Pretzel Factory stores in 12 states. The menu offers traditional Philly style pretzels as well as pretzel twists, mini pretzels, rivets, pretzel dogs and cheese steak pretzels. The pretzels are hand twisted and prepared at each store daily. The stores also sell their own brand of mustard and the pretzels themselves are made from a proprietary blend of flour. On April 26 each year, the stores given away one free pretzel to every customer on National Pretzel Day. The company works with groups for fundraising and donations for events, and also has a catering menu.