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Business Intel: Chipotle, Tropical Smoothie to add Roanoke locations

Business Intel: Chipotle, Tropical Smoothie to add Roanoke locations

Blue Hills Village

A Chipotle Mexican Grill and Tropical Smoothie Cafe, both to be free-standing restaurants, will be built beside the Shoppes at Blue Hills Village in Roanoke.

Chipotle Mexican Grill and Tropical Smoothie Cafe are adding locations in Roanoke, adjacent to the Blue Hills Village shopping center.

The two national restaurant chains will be built on a 1.5-acre pad site recently purchased by Rocky Mount Realty LLC for $525,000, according to commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer.

Jessica Johnson, first vice president with Thalhimer, said the two free-standing buildings that will house Chipotle and Tropical Smoothie serve as a bookend to the shopping center, which has a free-standing Starbucks at the opposite end.

Johnson said she initially approached the developer about building a Chipotle at the site, but later realized that the land could support a second concept and recruited Tropical Smoothie.

Johnson said the owner of the new Tropical Smoothie location has another franchise near Towers Shopping Center, which opened in 2019. Chipotle restaurants are company-owned.

“What I’m most excited about is that we’re seeing new development from the ground up in Roanoke,” Johnson said, noting the value of new inventory with a fresh look.

New development is important to growth in the valley, she said.

The shopping center is an attractive location given the high traffic volume on Orange Avenue and the number of people coming in and out of the nearby Roanoke Centre for Industry and Technology every day, she said.

Chipotle and Tropical Smoothie complement each other in that they are not competitors, Johnson noted. One offers smoothies, wraps and salads while the other is best known for its burritos, tacos, and chips and salsa.

The project is in the permitting phase now, Johnson said, and construction should begin soon. Ideally both restaurants will open by the end of the year or early 2022.

Contact Casey Fabris at or 540-981-3234.

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Casey Fabris covers business for The Roanoke Times, where she has been a reporter since 2015. Previously, Casey covered Franklin County. She can be reached at (540) 981-3234 or

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