New Eateries Cooking on Route 40

The new fast food restaurants popping up on Route 40 are the talk of the town. There is a general consensus of excitement over the incoming Sonic and Chipotle.

Sonic, the most highly anticipated new establishment, opened on Oct. 16. This popular eatery, known widely for its milkshakes and carnival-style cuisine, conducted employment interviews in the weeks before its grand debut. Senior Ashleigh Hines is among those who applied and was hired at Sonic.

“I like working there,” Hines said. “It’s fun. I get along with all of the people I work with. They have me working multiple jobs, and that keeps me busy and not bored sitting at home.”

However, before construction could begin on the new Sonic building, permits had to be acquired.

“We’re a little delayed, but we’re still moving through the permitting process,” said Sonic representatives on Sept. 28.

The construction for Sonic officially began on March 31, but their target for a July opening was miscalculated. Nevertheless, Ellicott City residents are ecstatic about this new joint.

While Sonic is generating a buzz, progress on the Chipotle front is lagging behind.

Plans were made in 2012, but construction has yet to begin. Even without a physical location, high schoolers are awaiting its arrival. Planning Specialist in the Land Development Division of Howard County, Mr. Derrick Jones, said that permits have yet to be given to Chipotle, but the end result is promising. Mr. Jones said that Chipotle will be a “quality development” complete with “patio dining and landscaping.”

Local demand and promised revenue streams directed the placement of these fast food chains. But there is the ever-growing concern of competition between Qdoba and Chipotle. It is a well-known fact that Qdoba and Mt. Hebron have a friendly relationship as the restaurant has catered events like the After-Prom Party, hosted at the YMCA.

Will that all change with a new Mexican restaurant right across the street? Junior Melissa Muul thinks so. She and many other Vikings predict that Chipotle will quickly become the new Hebron hotspot, despite the ardent loyalty that students currently harbor toward Qdoba.

Math teacher Ms. Sara Tagget said, “I like Qdoba, but my entire family likes Chipotle.”

A division among Vikings and Route 40-goers alike is evident. Some Mt. Hebron students take a more objective view to the recent changes. Sophomore Cliff Ritch, an amateur economist, shed some light on the situation, saying that the addition of Chipotle would “increase business for both [Chipotle and Qdoba].”

Although there is much enthusiasm for the addition of Sonic and Chipotle, McDonald’s simple redecoration is less impressive in the eyes of the Mt. Hebron community.

“It’s nothing new,” Officer Jason Dicerbo said.

But others disagree. Security guard Mr. Wayne Watkins countered, “McDonald’s is a staple.”

While this division is overshadowed by the excitement for restaurants new to the area, some upperclassmen and staff have other qualms regarding traffic. Ms. Tagget reflects the concern, saying that Route 40 is “already pretty congested around that section.” Despite the increase in traffic, some people want even more restaurants to be constructed.

The most popular requests were for Chick-fil-A and Taco Bell. Senior Aqsa Rauf and Ms. Tagget were both on the side for Taco Bell, while the Chick-fil-A delegates consisted of senior Rachel Smith and freshman Lily Schools. The only outlying request fell at the hand(cuffs) of Officer Dicerbo, who asked for a Texas Roadhouse.

With all of the varied perspectives of our Vikings, Route 40 is sure to cook up some excitement.

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