Hundreds swarm new Moe's in Springettsbury

Katherine Ranzenberger

Rain or shine, Joe McShea and Patrick Walsh were determined to get their free burritos for a year from the new Moe’s Southwest Grill in Springettsbury Township.

Actually, this would be their second set of free burritos from the Mexican fast food joint. The two 19-year-olds also camped out overnight last summer for a Moe's opening in Lititz.

“It feels amazing,” McShea said. “We’re definitely doing it again this summer at the opening in Centerville so we can have three free burritos a week.”

The fast-casual Mexican restaurant chain, based in Atlanta, will officially open its first York County location on Friday at 3013 E. Market St. in Springettsbury Township. However, the restaurant welcomed around 200 people into the store Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Ephrata men spent 16½ hours outside waiting for their free burritos (one per week for a year), which were given to the first 75 people in line.

Walsh said the timing worked out perfectly for him to join McShea at the opening.

"I'm on spring break right now," Walsh said. "We tried to get our friends to come out and join us, but they gave us lame excuses like they had class or were working."

Keli Cooper, part owner of the new franchise, said she's done 11 openings at restaurants around the East Coast before, but this was one of the nicest welcomes she has experienced.

"Everyone has been so respectful and nice and kind," she said. "It makes it easier for the workers when there's a smiling face across the glass from them."

Wednesday night, the restaurant held an all-you-can-eat fundraiser for Central York High School. The cost to attend was $10, and Cooper said the restaurant raised around $3,000 for the high school.

"It's exciting and so amazing," she said.

Moe's will host another $10 all-you-can-eat fundraiser tonight from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday for Central York elementary and middle schools. The store also plans to hold another fundraiser within a month for York Suburban School District.

Kody May, general manager of the new Springettsbury Township location, said he loves seeing the community he grew up in come support new restaurants.

"It's all about the community coming together," he said. "We take great pride in our customers and our workers here. We try to make it fun. We want our employees and customers to have fun, and the atmosphere here is good."

Moe's is the second store to open in the recently built Firehouse Shoppes, which replaced the former Springettsbury Township Fire Hall.

AT&T opened in February in the retail center, which is also set to hold Heartland Dental, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Sport Clips and a nail salon.

— Reach Katherine Ranzenberger at