Americans like a bit of a spicy kick in their food, it seems. The chipotle pepper, which is actually a smoked and dried jalapeno pepper, has a flavor that people love. It’s different from other chili peppers and has become popular in the United States.
That distinct taste is one of the reasons people add them to salsas, marinades, soups and stews. People most associate them with Mexican or Tex-Mex cuisine. It’s a mainstay in Mexican dishes if you happen to take a trip to that country. They love it there.
There’s even a holiday around it all – National Chipotle Day, May 5, which is also the famed Mexican holiday of Cinco De Mayo.
Then there is the popularity of Chipotle Mexican grill restaurants in the U.S., with a whole variety of dishes that use chipotle peppers, and this has introduced the fruit to an even wider audience.
The fast-casual restaurant chain was founded in 1993 in Denver, Colorado and has spread since then – 3,187 locations worldwide now, according to Statista. The menu focuses on items like burritos, tacos, bowls made of freshly cooked meats, beans, rice and vegetables, plus a list of salsas and sauces. People go in and build their own meals. After all, eating out is more about personalization now. Chipotle is where so many Americans go to get their Mexican food fix.
So we took a look at the popularity of Chipotle nationwide to see how Illinois fared compared to other states. If you're out celebrating Cinco De Mayo this weekend (perhaps while placing a wager at Illinois sports betting apps) spare a thought for the pepper that started the successful Chipotle chain.
As it turns out, Illinois ranks up there as one of the U.S. states that loves Chipotle the most.
IllinoisBet used consumer data from ScrapeHero to figure out how many Chipotle restaurants were per 1 million people in each state. We also factored in the percentage of Chipotle locations in each state. Search data from Google Trends for “Chipotle near me” in the past 90 days was used to determine relative interest in the chain (with a score of 100 points as the most and no points for the least). Each category was then weighted and each state ranked accordingly.
Ohio is ranked No. 1 in our study: 68 in Google Trends Search Volume, 19.7 Chipotle restaurants per one million people, and a 7% share of Chipotle restaurants in the United States.
Where is Illinois? The Land of Lincoln, home of Illinois sportsbooks, ranks No. 5. The state scored 51 points in Google Trends search volume and has 12.7 restaurants per one million people, or 5% of Chipotles in the country.
Why that is the case is more of a deeper dive issue for another day. But there’s no question Illinois residents have a real love for the spicy fruit.
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