THE HUB—The popular Mexican-American fast-food chain Chipotle is opening up a second location in the South Bronx neighborhood of Melrose, and Krispy Kreme, one of America's favorite donut shops, is opening its second Bronx location in the area as well.
Chipotle's new location is currently under construction on Third Avenue between 151st Street and Westchester Avenue between CityMD and Footlocker, where Payless Shoes once stood.
Meanwhile, Krispy Kreme has taken over the corner at one of the busiest intersections outside of Times Square, right outside the 3rd Avenue and 149th Street station on the 2 and 5 lines where 1800Fix had been in operation for almost three decades.
While many areas across the city have experienced significant slowdowns as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, especially in parts of Manhattan like Midtown, the pace at The Hub has picked up considerably with little actual vacant storefronts.
As one of the busiest areas in the city in terms of pedestrian foot traffic, they should have plenty of hungry customers to keep them in business and perhaps will do better than the Starbucks on 149th Street around the corner, which closed after less than two years in operation.
Directly behind Chipotle, a ten-story office building and charter school are currently under construction, as well as La Central, where hundreds of residents are moving into as over 400 units of affordable housing recently became available.
That particular development is still under construction and, once completed will contain just under 1,000 units of housing spread across five buildings.
While many in the area have called for a greater variety in food options and some eagerly await the opening of these chains, there are others online in social media forums such as several Facebook groups who are not necessarily thrilled with the opening of more fast-food and junk food options given the health disparities that plague The Bronx, and in particular, the South Bronx.
The South Bronx has some of the highest rates of diabetes in the city and state, as well as obesity along with the additional complications these bring with them, such as heart disease.
Options are great, but there needs to be a balance in healthy offerings for locals versus all the junk food they're bombarded with on a daily basis.
One thing's for sure, and that's that these two franchises will survive where Starbucks failed, given the propensity for Bronxites to flock to such foods.
For those that want authentic, home-cooked, and real Mexican food, you can get your fill at local favorites, Xochimilco and La Morada.
As for the donuts at Krispy Kreme, at least they're freshly baked in The Bronx where they are shipped to the rest of their stores in the city, but even that has a local alternative over at Capri Bakery on 149th Street near the corner of Morris Avenue which is where you'll catch us grabbing freshly baked donuts.