A York County-based burrito business is coming to Lancaster and on Monday secured the zoning approvals needed to pair a micro-brewery with its fare.
The owner also plans to re-open a city bar with a new focus on food, and received approval for a micro-distillery on-site.
Roburrito's, a local chain that began in 2006 in West York, will soon open its fifth location at the former Señorita Burrita at 227 N. Prince St.
Owner Robert McGrath's trademark is making everything from scratch, and he's installing a full kitchen as part of the renovations to the restaurant, which is about 2,500 square feet.
"I think Lancaster has a lot of opportunities going on," he said. "It's more of a food scene that I'd definitely like to be a part of."
In keeping with his freshly made burritos, McGrath wants to brew his own burrito-specific beer. He also plans to offer seasonal beers and work with local breweries to see what flavors they can offer to match his burritos, he said.
McGrath was granted a special exemption to begin brewing at the city site in its Central Business District by the Zoning Hearing Board. Limits on how much he can brew are set by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, zoning officer Walter Siderio said.
The Prince Street restaurant is scheduled to open by late May, McGrath said.
McGrath also received use variance approval to operate a micro-distillery at 637 N. Plum St., where he recently purchased the former Fulton Bar. The bar was closed last year due to neighborhood complaints.
"It was part of my original five-year plan, to be able to open a bar," he said.
As McGrath researched burritos around the country to offer a quality product at his chain, he also researched bars in the Midwest. He found some amazing examples of neighborhood bars that were known for their food, he said.
"I have a burrito the way I like it; I'd also like to have a bar the way I like it," McGrath said.
McGrath said he plans to take high-quality local grains and turn them into rum, vodka or whiskey, offering something better than people can buy off of a store shelf.
The state limits micro-distillery production to 40,000 gallons per year, but he plans to produce about 2,500 gallons per year, he told the zoning board, Siderio said.
McGrath plans to re-open the bar on North Plum Street by the end of July, though it will likely take a few more months to gain state approvals and open the distillery, he said. He'll be maintaining the historic character of the interior while making some modern improvements, he said.
Roburritos has locations in Dallastown, Springettsbury Township and Central Market in York.