Stripes Burrito Co. celebrates the grand opening for its new Rio Rancho location at 2510 Southern Blvd. on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, presenting a $61,600 donation for U.S. Veterans Affairs. Local leaders join them here. Matt Hollinshead photo.

Keeping Rio Rancho’s growth over the last two decades in mind, Stripes Burrito Co. owner Gary Hines was eager to expand operations to the City of Vision.

His establishment officially arrived here, celebrating the occasion with Thursday’s grand opening.

Hines said the 950-square-foot building, at 2510 Southern Blvd., will take drive-thru and walk-up orders only; a little outdoor seating will be added later.

Hines said the No. 1 thing Stripes customers across Albuquerque kept inquiring about was when it would set up shop in Rio Rancho.

Stripes Burrito Co. co-owners Victor Sanchez, left, and Gary Hines celebrate the grand opening of the restaurant’s new Rio Rancho location on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Matt Hollinshead photo.

“I’ve kind of had a little bit of a feel for Rio Rancho, really wanting to get there,” he said. “When we saw the one property was available, I grabbed it up. … The traffic on Southern’s just been phenomenal, and Rio Rancho’s definitely considered the place to be.”

Hines also said he was drawn to Rio Rancho’s vibe of people having each other’s backs, being free of things like graffiti and being business-friendly.

“Everything about the place has been wonderful,” he said.

Hines said he expects customers will tolerate the construction along NM 528 to stop by the new location.

“We think people will put up with a little bit more, if you can give them a great product. That’s what we’ve got our fingers crossed for,” he said.

He also said the amount of cars traveling along Southern Boulevard could help bring another location to that area in the future.

Stripes has four Albuquerque locations.

Hines said the hours for the Rio Rancho location will be 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, plus 5:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. He also said the new location will have 18 to 20 employees to cover two daytime shifts.