Local Mexican Restaurant Relying on Customer Base as Chipotle Moves In

BY DAISY ARRIAGA & BRANDON DOYLE

FEB. 20, 2012

ITHACA, N.Y. – Popular, international restaurant chain, Chipotle Mexican Grill, will open its newest location in Ithaca on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Local Mexican restaurant Téllez Mexican Grill and Catering is confident that Chipotle will not impact their business because of their authentic Mexican taste.

Salvador and Ana Gabriela Téllez recently opened their Mexican grill in the Commons after starting a catering business from their home in Corning, N.Y. The Téllez family first began catering for small parties and events at Cornell University before opening in the Commons.

Téllez Mexican Grill is a small family owned business and their only employees are Salvador and Ana Gabriela‘s three children. When they are catering at Cornell events, Salvador said that the organizations provide student volunteers, while other members of the family tend to the restaurant.

“A lot of students and staff asked, ‘Where are you located? We love your food.’ We started looking for a place and that’s why we came to the Center at Ithaca,” Salvador said.

Salvador Téllez said they are different from most Mexican restaurants, in that they prepare their meals in front of the customer, using only fresh ingredients.

Chipotle and Viva Taqueria were not able to comment at this time.

“We are offering homemade food, so it’s different from our competition,” said Ana Gabriela. “I try to cook our food like I cook at home.”

Salvador does not anticipate losing any profits after the opening of Chipotle because of their authentic Mexican taste and the customer base they have already built.

“We have customers who come back two or three times a week,” said Salvador. “They tell us they are addicted.”

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