Chipotle Mexican Grill said Thursday its test of the new vegetarian menu item called “Sofritas” will be expanded to all units in California in June.

The Denver-based chain began testing Sofritas, a shredded tofu dish braised with chipotle chiles, roasted poblanos and spices, in seven San Francisco restaurants earlier this year. In April, the test was expanded to 96 units in Northern California.

On June 3, the menu option will be available in Southern California as well, the company said, bringing the option to about 234 locations in total, based on the count as of Dec. 31, representing about 17 percent of the 1,400-unit system. However, company officials say they still consider the product in test and declined to comment on any possible national rollout.


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Steve Ells, Chipotle’s co-chief executive, said in a statement that the move is a continuation of the brand’s efforts to change the way people think about and eat fast food.

“Sofritas is a very different kind of menu item, not just for Chipotle, but for any fast food or fast casual restaurant,” he said. “It was conceived with vegetarians and vegans in mind, but it’s so delicious that we think it will have crossover appeal as well. It’s been well received in the initial test and Northern California market, so we’re expanding throughout the state to give more people the opportunity to try it.”

Sofritas serves as a protein option for burritos, tacos, bowls or salads. It’s made with organic, non-genetically modified tofu by Oakland, Calif.-based supplier Hodo Soy Beanery.

For Chipotle, it’s the second attempt at finding a vegetarian protein that pleases those that avoid animal products. A grain-based protein called Garden Blend was tested previously, but was scrapped.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout