Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

Anyone who loves huge Mission-style burritos stuffed with their choice of fresh ingredients won't have to wait much longer for Chipotle Mexican Grill to finally open in Crown Point.

The widely influential Newport Beach, California-based chain, a favorite among millennials and anyone who appreciates a high degree of customization, plans to open its first Crown Point location on Jan. 8 at 10715 Broadway.

Chipotle is known for its assembly line-like service in which burritos, tacos, bowls and salads are constructed with a selection of ingredients like barbacoa, carnitas and guacamole. It has been considered the gold standard of the fast-growing fast-casual segment with many restaurateurs scrambling to be the first to open "the Chipotle of pizza," "the Chipotle of Greek food," and so on. But Chipotle's reputation was dinged after E. coli outbreaks and other food safety concerns in 2015.

Chipotle was originally supposed to open in Crown Point on Saturday but the opening was pushed back. A company spokesperson said no further delays are expected.

In a novelty for a Chipotle, at least in Northwest Indiana, the new Crown Point restaurant will feature a drive-up pickup lane for customers who place and pay for orders on the Chipotle app or at Chipotle.com.

The restaurant will be open from 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.


Also in Mexican-themed chain restaurant news, Taco Bell has opened at 917 Joliet St. in Dyer, near the Jewel-Osco supermarket at U.S. 30 and Calumet Avenue.

Especially popular among perpetually hungry teenagers and late-night bar-goers, the Tex-Mex-ish fast-food chain, known for a value menu where ingredients like Fritos chips are wrapped in a tortilla and sold for a buck or so, serves chalupas, XXL Grilled Stuft Burritos and whatever a "crunch wrap" is.

Taco Bell, owned by Louisville-based Yum Brands, describes the food as "Mexican inspired" on its website. It has 7,000 locations worldwide, including in Highland, Griffith, Crown Point, Winfield, Valparaiso, Hobart, St. John, Merrillville, Hammond, Portage, Munster, LaPorte, Chesterton and Michigan City.

The Dyer Taco Bell is open from 7 a.m. through 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 7 a.m. through 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.


Work off all those burrito calories at the new Anytime Fitness gym in Chesterton. The gym chain that allows members to workout around the clock has opened its 17th Northwest Indiana location.

The 24-hour fitness franchise at 757 Indian Boundary Road offers free weights, weight machines, cardio equipment, group training, personal training, tanning and hydro-massage therapy.

“For many people, joining a gym can be an intimidating experience,” Anytime Fitness Regional Manager Kevin Scott said. “Our gym is big enough to feature everything you need for a great workout and small enough to provide personalized attention for all of our members. Whether weight loss is your goal, or increased strength or improved balanced and flexibility — or a combination of some of those things — at Anytime Fitness, we’re able to help you achieve whatever results you seek.”

On average, Anytime Fitness gyms are staffed for 12 hours a day but can be accessed by members at any time day or night — hence the name — with a key fob. Members also have access to any of Anytime Fitness's more than 4,000 clubs worldwide.

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“We make it easy for our members to exercise whenever and however they like,” Scott said. “We have personal trainers available to help you learn how to use all of the equipment and to develop an individualized workout plan, if you like. And, our Personal Training and Group Training programs are optimized to provide efficient workouts in 1-on-1 settings as well as small & large group settings. All training programs are designed to provide guidance, accountability and of course results.”

For more information, call 219.765.0382 or email ChestertonIN@anytimefitness.com.


Granite & Quartz Tops is moving into the former Lynn’s Bedding at 1862 W. U.S. 30 in Merrillville.

Merrillville-based Commercial In-Sites brokered the sale of the property to the new owner, which is opening its first location in Indiana. The showroom will feature custom granite, marble and quartz countertops.

Commercial In-Sites said in a news release the new countertop showroom should open in early summer 2019.


Starbucks shuttered its coffee shop at 2531 Willowcreek Road in Portage, the oldest Starbucks in Porter County's most populous city.

The Seattle-based purveyor of cold brew, Frappuccinos and other strong espresso drinks that power people through the day, still has two other Portage locations, at 6030 U.S. 6  and 6295 Ameriplex Drive.


Don Pedro's, a Tex-Mex restaurant that offered steak, seafood and Mexican staples like enchiladas, quesadillas and Huevos Con Chorizo, has permanently closed its long-standing location at 7840 U.S. 41 in Schererville.

A favorite spot for Mexican cuisine among many in the Tri-Town, the restaurant had a bar that served drinks like Corona-ritas with an upturned Corona bottle jutting out of a margarita glass. It had some authentic menu items like menudo and pozole.

"It is with great sadness that we inform you after 16 amazing years in business we have come to the difficult decision to close our doors and focus on our next business venture," the owners said in a note posted on the door. "It has been an incredible journey. Thanks to all our wonderful patrons and to the NW Indiana community. Please feel free to visit the original Don Pedro's located in Calumet City, Illinois. Thank you."

Business Ins and Outs

If you've got tips about new stores or restaurants anywhere in the Region, or just wonder what's under construction somewhere, contact NWI Business Ins and Outs columnist Joseph S. Pete at joseph.pete@nwi.com or 219.933.3316.