If the cars in the parking lot are any indication, business has been good at the new Military Road plaza offering three new food locations for area shoppers and residents. 

On Tuesday, Chipotle Mexican Grill opened to provide sustenance to long lines of fans of the fast food franchise in a small plaza across from the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls. A Five Guys burger and fries restaurant in the same location had equally enthusiastic crowds, which haven't seemed to slow since that franchise store opened on Oct. 6.

"We've been going pretty steady since we opened," said Five Guys General Manager Marc Calvin, who said the restaurant has had particular support from the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station which, after receiving a couple hundred free food coupons for the store's grand opening, presented the restaurant with a flag they flew on a review mission.

"We're known for great burgers and fries and an energetic atmosphere," said Calvin, whose staff includes 42 full-time employees, all receiving benefits from the company.

Nearby, the Chipotle management hired 26 full-time employees, also with benefits, prior to their opening on Tuesday. Nearly all were from Niagara Falls, according to General Manger Becca Griswold.

The company prides itself on natural meats from humanely treated animals, along with hand-cut produce and other healthy additions, with nothing frozen, microwaved or canned.

Michael Mark, the company's new restaurant opening manager, said Chipotle likes to pay a little above its fast food competitors and noted the franchise almost always hires its managers from within the ranks.

Chipotle also doesn't do any advertising. "Basically, if we can put the food in your mouth, you will come back," he said. 

For those seeking dessert after their hamburgers and Mexican grilled tacos and salads, a TCBY frozen yogurt is the third new store in the plaza. 

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MAIN STREET BUSINESS AWARDS

The Main Street Business & Professional Association will be hosting its annual awards dinner on Friday at the Como Restaurant, 2201 Pine Ave., with a cash bar at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $45. 

Those being honored include:

• Jodi Collins as Business Person of the Year

• Cardamone Chiropractic as Business of the Year

• Norman Bishara with the George Kurtzman Award

• Laurie Davis with the President's Award

• Molly Anderson with the Michael Brundidge Community Service Award

• Russ Petrozzi with the Special Recognition Award

Rob Brawn is receiving the Rainbow Award and Natalie Cook, Rob Lynch and Henrietta Portanova are receiving the Beautification Award. 

The public is invited, however, reservations are required. To make a reservation, call 285-1318. 

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STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS

A pre-business start-up planning workshop designed for those in business or interested in learning how to start a business will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 18 at the North Tonawanda Library, 505 Meadow Drive, North Tonawanda.

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