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Chipotle set to open later this month in Duluth; Qdoba to open in July

Hannah Robarge (right), general manager of the Chipotle Mexican Grill opening in Duluth later this month, answers questions from Bart Ziebarth of Duluth before he applied for a job at the new restaurant. Chipotle held a hiring event at Minnesota WorkForce Center on Thursday. (Bob King /

The long wait for more Mexican food in Duluth is nearing an end.

Chipotle Mexican Grill is planning to open at Miller Hill Mall on June 25, while Qdoba Mexican Grill is looking at a July 21 opening at BlueStone Commons.

Both are Colorado-based, fast-casual Mexican food chains founded in the 1990s and known for using fresh ingredients. Fierce competitors, they each now have hundreds of restaurants in the United States.

Because of uncertainly with construction and final preparations, a Qdoba company spokeswoman wasn’t more specific than saying the Duluth location would open in late July. However, the Minnesota WorkForce Center in Duluth was told it would open July 21.

The restaurant openings mark not only the two chains’ first entry in the Duluth market but also their first restaurants in Northeastern Minnesota.

Chipotle will open in storefront space facing Miller Trunk Highway between Noodles & Company and Sport Clips Haircuts for men, with access only from the parking lot.

Qdoba will become a prominent tenant at the Shops at BlueStone along Woodland Avenue near the University of Minnesota Duluth. The new retail center is near BlueStone Lofts, a new upscale housing complex targeted for students.

Both Chipotle and Qdoba are hiring.

Chipotle needs 30 employees. Representatives were on hand for a hiring event at the Minnesota WorkForce Center in downtown Duluth last week, which drew a scattering of applicants for full-time and part-time openings for team crew members.

Qdoba will hold a similar hiring event at the WorkForce Center at 402 W. First St. from 12:30-2:30 p.m. Tuesday.Team members will be hired by June 30, with lead positions filled and on the job before then, according to Rhonda Rutford of the WorkForce Center.

“For the upcoming opening, we are looking to hire between 20 and 25 team members at the new restaurant,” Qdoba spokeswoman Meg  Prejzner said.

Qdoba, with more than 600 locations in the U.S., is known for its signature San Francisco-style burritos, which are larger, with more rice and other ingredients.  Fast- growing Chipotle — with more than 1,600 sites in the United States, Canada and Europe — specializes in burritos and tacos.