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BizBeat: Getting a double dose of Mexico

Modestans soon will have two new places to grab their made-to-order burritos.

Two new national Mexican restaurant chains, Qdoba and Chipotle, are opening their first Modesto locations this week.

The dueling fast-casual eateries are based in Colorado.

Qdoba Mexican Grill, which has more than 500 sites nationwide, will have its grand opening Thursday in the Village West Shopping Center at McHenry and Briggsmore avenues.

The restaurant is the second business to open in the new center, a Rite Aid drugstore being the first.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, which has 900 sites across the country, will follow with its grand opening Friday in the year-old The Village at Vintage Faire.

The eatery sits across from BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse in the new expansion of the mall.

The Modesto Qdoba is the fourth opened by Turlock resident and area franchisee Brandon Graspointner.

The Turlock High graduate opened his first Qdoba in Atwater when he was fresh out of college in 2007. He has other locations in Turlock and Clovis.

The site has indoor and outdoor seating for 87 and a staff of 18.

Diners can choose from burritos, tacos, nachos, quesadillas, soups and salads. All items are made to order in front of the guests and can be customized to preference.

"It's high-quality, hand-crafted meals in a friendly atmosphere," Graspointner said. "We try to make everyone leave with a wow."

The restaurant will have a fund-raiser from 4 to 7 p.m. today as part of the opening celebrations. Fifty percent of proceeds from all sales during that time will go to the Center for Human Services.

The restaurant also is running an ongoing giveaway on its Web site, 500freeburritos.com.

Qdoba will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 521-6400 or go to qdoba.com.

The new Chipotle at the mall also has a made-to order menu of burritos, burrito bowls, tacos, salads and chips. The chain prides itself on its naturally raised meats using no antibiotics or hormones.

"Chipotle offers a really focused menu. The philosophy is to serve food in a natural way," spokeswoman Andrea Jackson said.

The eatery has a 92-person capacity and a staff of 35.

Thursday, Chipotle will celebrate by giving guests a free burrito, burrito bowl, salad or order of tacos of their choosing as well as a fountain drink from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

After its grand opening Friday, its hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The first 100 customers Friday will receive a free T-shirt and other prizes.

For more, call 550-0540 or go to www.chipotle.com.

Elsewhere around the Business Beat:

The Computer Tutor Business and Technical Institute is offering free job training to area young adults.

Low-income people ages 18 to 24 are eligible for training and job placement assistance in office clerk, administrative assistant, medical and accounting programs through the Modesto career college.

The school has 45 openings that will be given first-come, first-served to eligible applicants.

The program runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday on a seven- or 18-week schedule.

Funding for the training came from a $230,000 Workforce Investment Act grant.

To apply, contact Tammy Watson or Sandy Escobedo at Computer Tutor, 4306 Sisk Road, or call 545-5200.

Have an item for Business Beat? Contact Marijke Rowland at The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352; 578-2284 or mrowland@modbee.com.

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