Construction crews arrived earlier this week to the East Isles Chipotle to begin construction on the parking lot. The parking lot has a dip in the pavement that, during rain storms, pools water so extensively that it has been dubbed Lake Chipotle.

Stina Neel paddles through Lake Chipotle on January 17. Photo by Wesley Noble

There is a tongue-in-cheek tourism site dedicated to the parking lot and it’s become a fixation across local internet platforms.

John Edwards, a Wedge resident who runs the Wedge LIVE! Twitter account, has been publishing pictures from the parking lot for years before major news organizations started broadcasting from the parking lot.

“I’ll take credit for popularizing Lake Chipotle,” Edwards said.

A Twitter user writes. “Thanks to @WedgeLIVE the Lake Chipotle rent surge is now a thing” above a Craigslist ad for an apartment listing mentioning Lake Chipotle.  

Despite the lake’s popularity, it’s not safe to routinely have a flooded parking lot.

“It’s a monument for us but it’s also caused a lot of problems,” Anthony Mason said, manager of the Chipotle, located at 2600 Hennepin Ave.

The water pooling is a danger to vehicles and the water quality is not healthy for people to be traveling through.

Photo of the flooded Chipotle parking lot, otherwise known as Lake Chipotle, on April 13, 2022. Photo courtesy of John Edwards/Wedge LIVE!

The parking lot construction is supposed to take only four weeks, according to Mason.

“I thought it was going to be a two month project,” Mason said.

Edwards said he didn’t think Chipotle would get around to fixing it.

“I hope they botch the fix so we don’t lose it forever,” Edwards said.

Lake Chipotle is extensively documented by Edwards, including an hour-long 8K video shot last year with Conrad Zbikowski when the parking lot was flooded.

“It’s going to be preserved forever in the historical record,” Edwards said.  

Mason is hoping for one more rain storm so he can get one more photo.

“I actually built a little boat I want to put out there,” Mason said. “I built it out of toothpicks and popsicle sticks.”