Watch out In-N-Out Burger.
Chipotle Mexican Grill is partnering with celebrity chef Richard Blais to expand its better burger concept, Tasty Made, the Denver-based chain announced Tuesday. Chipotle, which wants to grow the brand, opened the first Tasty Made in 2015 in Ohio.
Blais, of “Top Chef” fame, operates several restaurants in Southern California including Juniper & Ivy in San Diego and fried chicken concept, Crack Shack. Chipotle said Blais will bring “his fine dining knowledge and considerable experience in the fast-casual space” to the burger upstart.
His first order of business will be to perfect the existing menu, and expand options. Tasty Made’s limited menu, just like Irvine-based In-N-Out, features four items: burgers, fries, shakes and sodas.
Fresh, not frozen, patties are grilled-to-order and fries are hand cut in the restaurant and twice fried. Tasty Made’s basic vanilla shake includes five ingredients: milk, cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
“Steve and Chipotle have had such a significant impact on reinventing fast food,” Blais said in a statement. “There is no more iconic fast food than burgers, and I have always thought that there is a way to do them on a really big scale without compromising the quality of the food or the overall restaurant experience.”
Blais and his business partners opened the first poultry-centric Crack Shack in San Diego in 2015. The counter service restaurant serves humanely raised poultry in an eco-friendly environment. It frys or grills Jidori chicken from Southern California and sources produce from local boutique farms. He plans to open other locations in Costa Mesa and Los Angeles.
Steve Ells, founder of Chipotle, said Blais’ ethos matches Chipotle’s food goals. He strives to bring “meaningful impact on food culture in America.”
“We quickly landed on the notion of his joining…