Culinary salvation might be nigh for New Haven residents — in the form of a Chipotle Mexican Grill.

In an e-mail to a student passed on to the News, Chipotle founder and CEO Steven Ells said the Mexican restaurant chain was looking for sites in New Haven for a potential opening in 2012. The student, who asked to have his name withheld, had offered to help open a Chipotle store in the city to meet strong student demand, though Ells replied that his company did not franchise.

Unsurprisingly, students welcomed the news. Twenty students told about the possible Chipotle opening said unanimously they would definitely visit if and when it opens.

“I think Chipotle is one of the utilities New Haven has been missing over the years,” said Alan Sage ’14. “Along with a store, Chipotle will help turn New Haven into a world-class city.”

Even the operator of a local burrito cart packing up on the corner of Elm St. and York St., who declined to give his name, said Chipotle would be a “cool” addition to New Haven.

Jeannine McMillan, owner of Moe’s Southwest Grill on Whitney Av., which offers very similar menu options to Chipotle, said any restaurant, not just one with similar food offerings, is considered competition, adding that competition is healthy.

“And at Moe’s we always give our chips and salsa away free — something Chipotle doesn’t do,” she said.

Chipotle currently has over 1000 stores in the United States, Canada and England.