(Update: Adding Chipotle's planned opening in early summer)
Chick-Fil-A, Chipotle drive-thru and new Greek fast-food restaurant due
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Since the moment Chick-Fil-A announced they were planning a location in Bend, there's been a flurry of mixed reactions. Along with views of the food ad business were concerns about how the arrival of another popular restaurant chain could affect traffic in the area of Highway 97 and Robal Lane.
The concerns have only increased since Chick-Fil-A released the date of their grand opening in Robal Road Village, on Thursday, Jan. 23 -- and it's not just Chick-Fil-A that's expected to affect traffic on Highway 97.
Among the new additions expected to draw more visitors to the area are an upcoming Greek fast-food restaurant, Kefi Fresh, and a Chipotle drive-thru, Bend's second restaurant of that chain. Both are also located in Robal Road Village.
A Chipotle representative confirmed Wednesday to NewsChannel 21 that the new Chipotle on Robal Lane will open "in early summer" and "will feature a 'Chipotlane,' which is our drive-thru digital order pickup lane."
On Tuesday, NewsChannel 21 spoke with Peter Murphy, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation, to hear how ODOT plans to address traffic concerns, with a forthcoming major reroute project for local traffic.
"Third Street will continue north on what is currently Highway 97, and we'll move the highway portion of that over closer to the railroad tracks," Murphy said. "Access to Cascade Village and the other shopping areas near there actually should become slightly better, because there will be less competition for the same space on the road."
The owners of Kefi Fresh agree, saying more traffic could mean more business.
Nick Stanitsas, who graduated from Central Oregon Community College's Cascade Culinary Institute, said he's excited to bring Greek cuisine to Bend.
"I have a new perspective on food after going to culinary school and working in restaurants here," Stanitsas said. "I'm excited for this center in particular to become the hub for the northeast side of town."
His mother, Menoula Stanitsas, says traffic in the area was a big factor in choosing a location for their restaurant.
"I know it's frustrating for people standing or sitting at that stop light, but it gives visibility to this center, which is one of the reasons we chose this location," Menoula said.
Kefi Fresh is expected to open in late February or early March. Chipotle has not yet released a date for when it's expected to open.