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Chipotle Coming to Former Cafe Parisien Space

by ARLnow.com April 12, 2012 at 12:18 pm 9,585 107 Comments

A Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant is coming to the former Cafe Parisien space at 4520 Lee Highway in the Lee Heights shopping center.

Building permits were issued for the restaurant about two weeks ago. A tipster tells us a contractor was out measuring the storefront’s awning today.

This will be Chipotle’s fourth Arlington location and the first here that isn’t within easy walking distance of a Metro. The company’s existing eateries are located in Ballston, Crystal City and Rosslyn. The Lee Highway location could put restaurant in more direct competition with Arlington’s popular, homegrown Mexican eatery, District Taco (5723 Lee Highway).

No word yet on when Chipotle hopes to open. Cafe Parisien, a long-time fixture of the shopping strip, closed late last summer.

  • Wilburg


  • Rick

    God Bless America

    • BigErn

      People are seriously excited that a fast food joint is moving in? Talk about setting the bar low…

      • Hmmf


      • Rick

        Well BigErn, if you lived in that area, it’d be a BigFD. Crisp and Juicy keeps irregular hours, Metro 29 (which I love) is a wallet hit, Billy’s Cheesesteaks wasn’t particularly good when I went there the first time. There’s a subway opening in Cherrydale, and there is just about 0 commerce north of Lee Highway (where I live). So I’m excited.

        • Car-Free Diet

          Even VP Biden thinks it’s a BFD, and he knows BFDs when he sees one.

        • AJ

          I live down the street. I think a Chipotle going in there is… less than ideal. The further decline of the small business.

      • R

        Of course I’m excited that Chipotle is moving into that space…I am excited that any corporation or individual is willing to invest in a new location or business particularly in tough economic times. I myself don’t eat at Chipotle regularly…maybe 2 or 3 times a year, but from the standpoint of creating new jobs for construction during the buildout phase and then restuarant staff and management once the restaurant is open, I think this is fantastic news. Not to mention a large national chain is likely to provide a stable working environment for individuals in that it is more likely to last than the average restaurant. Generally, anytime a store/restaurant is willing to occupy a space that has been vacant it is a plus for the community…at least in my opinion.

      • Cartman

        Dude, have you ever tried Chipotle?

      • Anne


  • SWC

    Are you kidding me?!? Have you been to District Taco? Chipotle is no competition at all. DT is the best!

    • CW

      Gotta agree – Chipotle, Qdoba, Moe’s, the rest – all the same thing. I don’t know how Chipotle got the hip status symbol thing it’s enjoyed because it’s all the same food everywhere. Now, Taco Bell and DT, different story.

      • BigErn

        Chipotle was in bed with McDonalds for awhile – how do you think they got so much investment money to suddenly open up on every corner? I have a hard time giving my money to a place backed up by a fast food empire when there are so many other options around.

        • Hmmf

          They are only supplying what the people want. If you don’t like it, down go. The joy of capitalism is that it’s your choice.

        • Rick

          They needed seed money, and also independent of McDonalds now. If they didn’t get a dime from McDonalds, BK, Yum etc the food would have spoken for itself and it would have taken off eventually, just not as quickly.

    • JamesE

      Ashamed to say I still haven’t tried district taco. The Taco Carrito truck at Ballston was pretty damn good though.

      • BC

        What happened to her?

    • Rick

      Chipotle uses better ingredients and is an advocate for sustainable agriculture. I enjoy a District Taco burrito every now and then but a little competition never hurt anyone

      • Rebecky


        • David

          Kind of hard to beat the Juevos Rancheros from District Taco.

          • Rick

            You’re right, it is hard for chipotle to beat an egg dish.

      • ++1

        • I meant it for the comment on sustainable agriculture. I have not tried DT, but I’ll do it soon after these comments!

  • CW

    Hmm, this is kind of interesting. Every Chipotle I’ve ever seen has been in either a heavy-foot-traffic high-density urban area or a standalone location with tons of parking. This is neither. I’m sure it will do just fine but it seems outside of the usual for them.

    • Rick

      They also usually stick to a rule of corner units only

      • Lou

        They are becoming more flexible. They opened one on Wisconsin Ave. in a tiny strip mall in a slot probably half as wide as this one. I think it’s just about the right size for the area.

        • Rick

          Yeah, between The Mall in Columbia, Pentagon City, Tysons (where they left a corner unit) they are softening up. Was probably a marketing expense they could tuck in fixed costs (rent) to help with exposure.

          • Waycroft Mike

            In fact, I’ve never seen a corner unit.

          • SouthPikeGuy


          • Corner o’ Wilson & Lynn


          • Rick

            Ballston, Rosslyn, Crystal City, Tenley Circle, Verizon Center, Seven Corners (freestanding), Old Town, Hybla Valley (freestanding), M Street, Fairfax Corner, Fairfax City, Burke… I could keep going. It was their one of their requirements when having to submit location requests. Newer ones don’t share that requirement.

          • DT

            Yup, they jumped the shark!

      • drax

        I can think of several that aren’t corner units.

    • Chris

      I am a student at HB Woodlawn which is within walking distance of that shopping center do I say chipolte is gonna get lots of business once school starts from HB kids
      Also chipolte is better then distract taco dt just has more of a selection

  • Jack

    Meh, I was hoping for a more unique place, but that’s how things go. I’m sure it will get more traffic than Parisien did.

  • Good Grief

    Mmm Chipotle within walking distance!!

  • JohnB2

    The key to Chipotle’s popularity (to me) is the easy customization of the relatively few food options.

    Looks like too small of a space though.

    • Josh S

      Like others have pointed out, there’s not a huge amount of foot traffic nearby. So they don’t need as much space.

    • JimPB

      I’ve seen Chipotle’s in small spaces, e.g., at Knowles and Connecticut in Kensington.

  • Hmmf

    Like McDonald’s, Chipotle wasn’t always a chain restaurant. Pollo Rico is technically a chain restaurant now that they’ve opened several new locations. Would you be opposed to them, a “local” company, opening more stores in PA or NJ? Don’t hate on them because they had a good enough business model to attract a huge customer base and wealthy investors.

  • 1RLI

    Surprised there’s not an uproar over a fast-food chain store moving in among the “quaint” and “folksy” shops of Lee Heights.

    • yikes!

      parking there is bad enough….I love quaint and folksy Arrowine but it will really suck to park there now

      • arlmom

        Totally agree. There are already lots of people who park in the 7-11 parking lot and then walk over to Starbucks. I am looking forward to the Chipotle since I will be able to walk to it from my house.

      • Scoot Scoot

        There is an entire parking lot behind the Lee Heights Shops and most shops have entrances in the rear. Many people don’t know it is there, or would rather park in front.

        • youkiddin?

          That;s always full too! when do you go 7AM?

    • Good Grief

      Eh, I think that bubble burst when the Starbucks moved in.

      • Daniel


      • wow&flutter


        • PUP

          – 2, cancelled y’all out.

        • AJ


  • Zach

    I am a diehard District Taco fan but sometimes I just want Chipotle. It will be nice having one around that has relatively easy parking.

  • Steve S

    Won’t this be the fifth location in Arlington? The one in the Pentagon City mall food court is sure to open before this one.

  • Runaway Train

    As a Marymount Student, this is great news!

    • Josh S

      Will the HB kids make the trek? Probably too far for Yorktown kids….

      • lurker

        they spend a ton of $$ at Starbuck’s and have been known to walk to Subway, McDonald’s etc. So yes.

      • Chris

        I’m an HB kid and this is not that far at all it’s the closet food area too us and yeah we are addicted to Starbucks also I walk to subway sometimes that’s kinda a farther walk but McDonald’s is the longest walk not many HB kids walk that far

  • JimPB

    The new Chipotle’s on Lee Highway is the closest to District Taco (1.6 mi.) and will bring to three the number of Chipotles in competition with to District Taco. There’s a Chipotle that has been in the Sever Corners Center in Falls Church for some years now (3.8 mi. from District Taco), with plenty of convenient parking, and another opened in the City of Falls Church on Broad St., as I recall, about a year ago (2 mi. further out), with, as is the case with District Taco, competitive parking.

    • arlcyclist

      I love DT and probably average about 3-4 visits a week which coming from Fairlington says a lot about how good and what a great value I think it is. However, the key is to visit on off hours. We tend to hold off on weekday dinner visits until after 8 and when we visit for lunch on weekends it’s usually mid-afternoon. Because of its location and convenience/quality/value it’s popular with young families which tends to make it overcrowded (parking and dining room) during conventional dining hours. We used to average about 2 Chipotle visits a week before we discovered DT but haven’t been back since.

      • The Royal We

        “We” meaning you and your bicycle?

        • arlcyclist

          No your mom.

          • PikerShorts

            THAT was good

  • Lala

    Too bad…I agree w/ Jack that a more unique place would be better in that spot. I hope it doesn’t take up all the parking for Crisp & Juicy!

  • Jeff

    As one that lives in the that area and finds District Taco to be mediocre at best, this comes as welcome news. I know Chipotle is a fast-food chain, but it does offer a crave worthy product.

    • balles qui traversent votre visage

      I agree, DT is fine but it is nothing AMAZING

    • WestoverAndOver

      Agreed. District Taco is good, but way overhyped.

  • South Awwwlington

    There has GOT to be one opening on the Pike somewhere!

    • Not so fast my friend…

      Meh, Pedro & Vinny’s is better

      • 5555624

        Only if you get a bowl. Every burrito I’ve gotten at Pedro & Vinny’s was essentially folded and fell apart. Maybe it’s different during the week or at night, but I switched to bowls because they were not as messy.

  • BBGYs

    local heartburn medication sales just went up!

  • Suburban Not Urban


  • lurker

    It is SURE to have TONS of business from teachers + students in the area!

  • DarkHeart

    Love me some DT, but when I took my old lady there I got an interesting reaction. She liked DT, but said it was about the same as Chipotle, and that Chipotle was slightly cheaper.

  • Clarendon

    Chipotle would be better for me if they had a wide variety of hot sauces, rather than just the Tabasco products. However, if you are picking just one brand, Tabasco is not a bad choice.

    • Rick

      You’re welcome with open arms at California Tortilla with a sub-par product.

  • PUP

    chiptole is yummy.

  • ArlingtonMom

    It is sad that Cafe Parisien is gone – and even sadder that a Chipotle coming in it’s place. It will certainly bring down the value of that cute strip! The strip needs something chic and unique, not something mundane!

    • Rick

      You do know there is a multi-national coffee chain in the same strip right?

  • No!

    First Starbucks and now chipotle. There goes the neighborhood.

  • No!

    First Starbucks and now chipotle. There goes the neighborhood. Support locally owned retail!

    • WOW

      Arlington is about to turn into Arlington Texas!

      • DivisonNCollins

        Does that mean we will get a Cowboys Dance Bar and a Six Flags?

        • James

          I hope we get the Arlington, Texas women then… =)

          • Rick


          • noooo

            -20 for the big hair and fake boobs

    • Stoneridge

      Franchise holders usually live in the area. They create jobs.

      • Rick

        Chipotle is not a franchise model.

  • Justin

    Chipotle is far better than DT. I’d like to support DT, but it’s not as tasty, slower and more expensive. I don’t love indie businesses so much as to put up with all that, sorry.

  • Church Lady

    Can’t the Lee Heights shopping center get a froyo shop founded with Christian principles?

    • Marcybuckets

      Wahooo!!! FroYo within walking distance? Think we need to wait for a post Revelation world for that!

  • James

    Awesome…finally an easy to access Chipotle….Ballston and Rosslyn absolutely suck for trying to park, etc.

  • Decades from now, you’ll tell your grandchildren about the good old days when a Mom & Pop could open their own retail business and make a decent living running a neighborhood store. And when you went to store you always saw the same people behind the counter and they knew your name.
    Landlords want big names with deep pockets and huge marketing budgets. Customers want the latest and greatest yet want to be guaranteed the same food or merchandise product whether in Tokoyo, Tyson’s or Arlington.
    Global mega retail chains to the rescue.

  • Lori

    Very disappointed to hear. It will bring down the uniqueness of the strip and the parking is already a problem.

    • Stoneridge

      There’s enough parking in the back, but people think they’re too good to bother with that.

      • Lori

        The parking can be a problem on a Saturday, even in the back. Can’t imagine it with Chipotle there too.

  • Asheryuki

    ugh – Loved the little French place, and the beauty of that strip was the uniqueness of each business there.

    Now it is low rent. Chipotle!? ick

  • Frank

    Well, look at what is going on at Lee-Harrison shopping center…same thing. Cute stores being replaced by a frozen yogurt store, a cell phone cover store…that landlord is just turning that center into a mess.

  • karzai

    What a step down. From a unique French-style bistro to a burrito chain. What a comedown…..

    • Aaron

      Sounds like someone could use an economics lesson from the underpants gnomes…. Go back to the Cafe Parisien-closing thread if you’ve forgotten how many people thought it was overpriced and cruddy.

      • Marcybuckets

        Cruddy?????? Sables, Crepes de Rein, Escargot, Salad Nicoise?? Where am I going to get my Chocolate Mousse fix??????

  • WOW

    How about a healthy food or drink place there? Would be much more fitting for that spot. Now all the high school kids in the area are gonna be fatties…..

  • Justin

    Boo hoo guys, most of these cute independent places have limited appeal and simply aren’t good enough to compete.

    • Nooner

      Exactally, if the french place was so good it would still be open. That place washad horrible food and worse service so it was empty most of the time.

  • Sarah

    Praise the lord we are SAVED! There are no easy food spots in Cherrydale…

    • WOW

      Crisp N Juicy? Lebanese Taverna?

  • Beaumont

    Dis joint will be great! Peeps at my school will go there all day!

  • Chris

    I’m an HB kid Now its gonna be Starbucks vs chipolte no ones gonna go to any other places well maybe 7-11 and subway


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