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On the Line: Chipotle CEO Steve Ells

Thursday, 17 May 2007 | 7:35 PM ET

Home Gamers know that Cramer's a fan of Chipotle Mexican Grill - and not just the food. He says CMG has transceded the idea of the typical restaurant chain, and he brought founder, Chairman and CEO Steve Ells to talk about the company's success so far.

Chipotle CEO
Cramer chats with Steve Ells, Chipotle founder, chairman and CEO

Ells opened the first Chipotle's 14 years ago in Denver. “I wanted to show that just because it’s fast doesn’t mean it has to be a typical fast-food experience – in the food, in the service and in the atmosphere,” he says.

CMG has been following that simple formula ever since, with a focus on fresh food, and it's working, espcially with the "post-Google generation," which Cramer points out seems to care more about what it's eating. But is that what Chipotle is seeing?

“We’re not having customers ask for it, really," Ells says. "We’re doing it because we think it’s the right thing to do.” Ells hopes that once customers are turned on to the way Chipotle does business, they'll appreciate it and others will follow.

Cramer says this is a good replacement for a Whole Foods-type stock and not necessarily a restaurant stock because while Whole Foods' growth is slowing, Chipotle is accelerating. The stock was downgraded recently, and though Cramer understands why, he's still bullish on Chipotle. “Any time this one declines, let’s pull the trigger and get some," he says. "[Ells is] the real deal and so is Chipotle.”

Questions? Comments? madmoney@cnbc.com

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