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Daily Detroit has learned that Chipotle Mexican Grill, the fast-casual chain known for its burritos and bowls, is planning to open a new location on Woodward Avenue in Ferndale this fall. A spokeswoman tells us the new store will open at 23123 Woodward Ave., on the corner of Cambourne Street, in the site of a former Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, which recently closed.

Rumors about a new Chipotle had been swirling on a Facebook group, and Daily Detroit producer Shianne Nocerini recently took photos of the shuttered storefront that showed piles of construction materials lying on the floor with the name Chipotle written on them.

Also, Chicago-based chain Portillo’s, known for their Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches, is planning to open a new location on Hall Road in Sterling Heights in the second half of 2021. Portillo’s is a mostly Midwest-based chain, but it has opened locations in California, Florida and Arizona. This will be its first Michigan location.

The two planned openings are a rare bit of good restaurant news during the coronavirus, when many restaurants have shuttered temporarily and some are closing their doors for good. Newport Beach, California-based Chipotle, in particular, has weathered the coronavirus pandemic well and attracted renewed interest from Wall Street investors, thanks to brisk business and a strong digital ordering system. Chipotle currently has 10 metro Detroit locations and is also reportedly eyeing a location on Detroit’s east side on the site of a vacant church.

In our main conversation, we speak with Matt Friedman of Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications about the recent switch of sports-talk WDFN-AM to the Black Information Network. Friedman is a former broadcaster and close observer of media trends. He tells us the move is part of a broader trend of local radio stations going with more national content to save money.

And of course, we update you on all the latest on COVID-19.

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