Saratoga County

Chipotle’s arrival sets stage for burrito battle at Exit 15

Burrito wars are coming to the Northway Exit 15 commercial strip next week, with two restaurants off

Burrito wars are coming to the Northway Exit 15 commercial strip next week, with two restaurants offering dueling freebies.

Chipotle, a gourmet burrito and taco chain, is opening its first upstate location on Friday at 3057 Route 50, near the entrance to Wilton Mall, and plans to give away free burritos and fountain drinks to every customer on Thursday to train the staff.

Moe’s Southwest Grill, across the street at 3084 Route 50, is giving away free burritos on Wednesday to celebrate its millionth burrito being served in the Capital Region, said local franchise owner Jonathan Trager.

The first 100 guests to Moe’s also will receive a free T-shirt.

Both restaurants are offering one free burrito to each guest all day.

Both Moe’s and Chipotle custom-make the Southwestern food in front of customers in line.

“It’s food while you watch instead of while you wait,” said Katherine Newell Smith, spokeswoman for Chipotle, which will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday for the burrito giveaway.

Trager said he’s also looking to thank customers for continuing to eat at Moe’s as the economy goes south.

“We know our guests have lots of restaurants from which to choose,” he said.

Smith said Chipotle doesn’t mind that Moe’s appears to be trying to grab more business as Chipotle opens across the street.

“I’m not worried about someone else doing a free burrito day,” Smith said. “No one does what we do in terms of the quality of the ingredients.”

And many business people believe that restaurants benefit from being located near other eateries.

“There’s a whole science about clustering,” Smith said.

In addition to the burrito giveaway, Chipotle also will celebrate its opening with a fundraiser Wednesday evening for the Saratoga-Wilton Youth Soccer Club. From 5 to 8 p.m., people can pay $5 and get a gourmet burrito or tacos, a salad, chips and salsa and a fountain drink.

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