Chipotle Mexican Grill opened in the Victory Station shopping center Wednesday to a response reminiscent of the center's anchor tenant, Whole Foods.
Crowds gathered outside the door prior to the chain restaurant's 11 a.m. opening. The line for the counter-service eatery spilled onto the patio through the lunch hour.
The Victory Drive location is Chipotle's first in Savannah. The chain was founded by chef Steve Ells in 1993 in Denver, Colo., and now boasts more than 900 restaurants in the United States, Canada and Europe.
The Savannah store employs a staff of 30. General Manager David Hicks praised his personnel Wednesday and marveled at the public response. A Savannah woman approached him Wednesday morning with an online petition she started five years ago to bring the burrito and taco makers to town.
"She brought a printout of the petition with her," Hicks said. "I had to buy her lunch."
Chipotle is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.