There’s a new burrito joint coming to Ohio State’s campus this summer.
Currito, a company based in Cincinnati, Ohio, and founded in 2006, is slated to open at 1778 N. High St. in mid-July.
Though some of its most prominent competitors are just a short walk away, with Chipotle very close at 1726 N. High St. and Qdoba at 1956 N. High St., John Lanni, co-founder and chief operating officer of Currito, said his company offers something different than other burrito spots.
“We’re completely different because we serve an international-flavor style,” Lanni said. “We push beyond just Mexican … We have a Thai-style burrito, we have a Mediterranean-style burrito, we have a teriyaki burrito, we have a buffalo-style burrito.”
Currito also offers smoothies made of real fruit and yogurt, as well as various salads, creating a variety that Lanni said makes Currito stand out.
“We’re definitely competitors but (Chipotle and Qdoba are) not a direct competitor. We sit next to Chipotle and Qdoba in a variety of environments and do very well,” he said. “We truly just have different offerings. (We’re) kind of like an alternative burrito joint.”
Lanni compared Currito’s model to the hamburger industry, where restaurants went from serving traditional American-style hamburgers to putting “new twists inside their burger.” Similarly, Lanni said, Currito’s competitors have “made a burrito become more of a household name” and now Currito is working to spin off of that popularity.
The most recent tenant of the the currently empty three-story building’s first floor was Blu’s Barbecue and Grill, which moved out about two and a half years ago, said Todd Levin, who does promotional sales and leasing for RS Garek Associates, the company representing the building’s owner, a portfolio real-estate company called Black Wilshire Ridgely based in California.
Levin said the past few tenants of the building haven’t worked out, mostly because the space “kept getting (bad) tenants,” but the building will be completely updated before new tenants move in.
“It’s going to look different than it looked before,” Levin said. “We created a street level entrance so you can get in right off the street and it’s going to be really nice.”
He said Currito will occupy the first floor, and there’s a deal being worked on now for the second and third floors, but Levin could not disclose what company is planning to move in.
With 20 locations at college campuses and airports, six of which opened or will be opening this year, Lanni said Currito is a perfect fit for a college environment like OSU.
“(College campuses and airports) are high-profile. A lot of different people see them from all over the country and not really just that, they also just fit our demographic really well. College students like burritos,” Lanni said. “I think we’re just well suited for a college environment. The whole concept is based around ‘burritos without borders’ … We appeal to a wide variety of people because we don’t just serve a Mexican-style.”
Currito’s first location is at University of Cincinnati, with additional locations at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Drexel University in Philadelphia, Rutgers University in Newark, N.J., and Bentley University in Waltham, Mass.
The price for a burrito ranges from $5.79 to $6.99, while salads cost between $5.99 and $7.29 and smoothies cost $3.99 to $4.99, according to Currito’s website.
Some OSU students and recent graduates said that though they don’t like Mexican food much, Currito’s options will offer them options they can appreciate.
“When I think about those places, I usually think about just rice and beans and some meat, so if there’s any different thing, yeah, I’ll try it,” said Henok Tefera, a Spring Semester 2013 graduate with a degree in nursing and biology.
Other students said Currito could take over the OSU burrito market or it could fail to match up to its competitors’ popularity.
“My friends really love Chipotle, and they love how good it does at that one thing, so it could work either way depending on how they pull it off,” said Nate Duxbury, a fourth-year in mechanical engineering.
Lanni nor Levin could not disclose cost information about the location.