The College Park business owner who opened the Mexican-Indian fusion restaurant Krazi Kebob is now bringing a traditional Mexican eatery to the city.
Krazi Burrito, located in the same building as Krazi Kebob on Lehigh Road, is expected to open in about two weeks, owner Nomie Hamid said. It is replacing Bread N Greens, a specialty salad restaurant Hamid opened in summer 2015 and closed in December.
Hamid's latest venture will feature traditional burritos, tacos, quesadillas and nachos. The prices for Krazi Burrito's traditional Mexican fare are comparable to the Mexican-inspired Indian and Pakistani food served at Krazi Kebob at around $7 or $8.
The restaurant has been in the planning stages for about nine months, Hamid said. He wanted to open a restaurant in College Park that gave students more options for their meals, and decided on Mexican cuisine because he has experience with it and enjoys coming up with the recipes.
"People don't have options for [traditional Mexican food]," Hamid said. "There's 15 pizza places around here and there's Chipotle."
Moise Romano, a junior biology major, said he usually goes to Chipotle or Noodles and Company if he's eating around the area, but would check out Krazi Burrito.
"When Lotsa opened it felt like too many pizza places," Romano said.
Romano isn't the only one who felt like the city's restaurant scene needed some variety. Sophomore computer science major Logan Schultz said he wishes there were more Mexican eateries than Chipotle in College Park.
"It'll be nice to get, like, other options going on, especially for Mexican food since everyone just goes to Chipotle," Schultz said. "It seems like all we get is pizza and then Chinese, so it'll be nice — just honestly for variety."
Downtown College Park is home to Blaze Pizza, Lotsa Stone Fired Pizza, Ledo Restaurant, Pizza Kingdom, Pizza Mart, Domino's Pizza, Slices Pizza, Papa John's Pizza, Potomac Pizza and Paisano's Pizza, among other nearby pizza joints.
Senior Meredith Johnston said she sometimes wants more authentic Mexican food than Chipotle, so she would stop by Krazi Burrito.
"A lot of people really, really like Krazi Kebob, so if it's by the same guy, I would assume that it would be just as good," the criminology and criminal justice and psychology major said.
Krazi Kebob opened in 2010, which Hamid says was before the "pizza epidemic" started. He said College Park residents and University of Maryland students and faculty alike have expressed to him that there's too much pizza now.
[Read more: Halal Guys will no longer be coming to Route 1]
The new restaurant will have a big push for online ordering and delivery, Hamid said. This allows customers to get in and get out with their food quicker, he said, which benefits both customers and the restaurant.
Krazi Burrito will be open seven days a week, and Hamid said he plans for it to stay open until 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, to give residents more late-night options other than pizza.
Having a variety of businesses is especially important to college towns, College Park City-University Partnership executive director Eric Olson said, as a wider offering can help the local economy.
Krazi Burrito is also a small, local business, which Olson said the city is trying to attract because they are more involved in the community than franchises.
The city helps small businesses in particular by offering grants to help business owners improve the exterior and interior of the buildings, including lighting, flooring, painting and signage, said Ryan Chelton, the city's economic development coordinator.
Through the Facade Improvement Grant Program, small local businesses can get a grant from the city that's 50 percent of the total cost of improvements, so long as it meets certain limitations and doesn't exceed $15,000 total.
"We're very happy that he's expanding … and he's looking to stay here in College Park," Chelton said. "We're very excited to keep him around. He's been quite the asset to the community."