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Chipotle Opens First Burger Restaurant in Fight to Regain Its Reputation

After months of speculation and a not-so-secret trademark application, Chipotle Mexican Grill announced Thursday that it will open a basic burger restaurant.

The first “Tasty Made” restaurant will be located near Columbus, Ohio, in the town of Lancaster, and will serve up a “focused” menu that consists of burgers, fries, and shakes.

Chipotle earnings drop 36 percent after E.coli and norovirus scares 0:23

“We think there’s great strength in [the] original fast food model and wanted to create a restaurant built around that,” said Steve Ells, Chipotle’s founder, chairman and co-CEO, in a press release announcing the new restaurant.

“Early fast food burger restaurants generally had focused menus,” he explained of the streamlined choices. “Making only burgers, fries and shakes with really great ingredients, we think we can appeal to people's timeless love of burgers, but in a way that is consistent with our long-term vision.”

In keeping with the company’s natural food credo, the ingredients at Tasty Made will be as locally sourced as possible. Beef for the hamburgers will be antibiotic and hormone-free, and milkshakes will be made using “real ingredients” such as regular cream, sugar, and eggs.

Tasty Made’s menu was developed with the help of Nate Appleman, a James Beard-award-winning chef, according to the press release.

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“Chipotle has been focused on a long-term vision to change the way people think about and eat fast food,” said Ells. “At the heart of that is our commitment to great quality ingredients and classic cooking techniques — traits that are absolutely necessary to make the best tasting food, and that can be applied to number of kinds of cuisine.”

The new restaurant comes amid Chipotle’s struggle to regain its reputation — and its customers trust — after a tumultuous 2015, when hundreds of diners were sickened with E. coli and norovirus after eating at the chain.