Chipotle Mexican Grill, the global chain for build-your-own tacos and burrito bowls, has become so ubiquitous that it's often invoked to describe other fast-casual restaurants with customizable menus: "poke meets Chipotle" or "the Chipotle of pasta."

Almost any new concept with the formula of walking down a line and choosing your format, protein and toppings can't help but be compared to the Colorado-based behemoth. But what happens when you are trying to make the Chipotle of, well, Chipotle? Minnesota-based Steele Brands is going to try.

Puralima Cantina, Steele Brands' third fast-casual concept — after salad slingers Crisp & Green and vegan burger and shake joint Stalk & Spade — is set to open Saturday in Minneapolis' North Loop. And like its two sibling chains, Puralima is primed to grow throughout the Twin Cities and beyond.

"We don't approach every brand that we build to be a brand that dominates the world," said Steele Smiley, founder and owner of Steele Brands. "We build it because we think it has merit and because we think that we have something special we want to try. We're hopeful and optimistic that this brand is unique."

The menu starts with a familiar format: Choose whether you want tacos, a burrito, a rice-and-beans bowl or salad. To that, add your protein choice, toppings and salsa selection. (Prices, starting at $9.50, have been set to match Chipotle pretty closely.)

But a few key elements have it veering from Chipotle's well-trodden path.

"Everything is truly staying in-house every day. Many restaurants start there, but we're hoping to do that from Day 1 on," said chef Bill Fairbanks, a Solera and Barrio alum, and chief culinary officer for Steele Brands.

Tortillas (corn, flour and gluten-free) are pressed in the restaurant. All the fruits and vegetables are diced on site. What seems like a grove's worth of limes are juiced for the limeade that comes in three flavors. Beef barbacoa cooks low and slow overnight. Super-thin tortilla chips, tossed in chile and lime, are served freshly fried.

And while you'll find the usual hits — carnitas, chicken — most of the protein toppers come with a twist. The chicken, for example, is achiote-marinated, something Fairbanks learned to make on a visit to the Yucatan Peninsula. Diced ahi tuna, served raw and marinated in citrus, is an option, while vegans and vegetarians can sub in cauliflower, prepared al pastor-style and drizzled in a cashew-based crema. And the menu won't have Mexican food only. Puralima is intended to span Latin America with short-term offerings; Fairbanks is thinking about pupusas at some point.

For dessert, there's a petite paper bag filled with crisp and hot mini churros, and a side of chocolate sauce for dipping. To drink, there are margaritas, including a frozen version. And for late-night chips-and-guac cravings, the restaurant will be open until midnight on weekends.

The food line spans the length of the restaurant, but the artwork is even more prominent. Colorful yarn is wrapped around three columns (the historic building's structural columns could not be modified in any other way). Minneapolis-based Mexican American artist Eric Rieger, known as the "yarn-bombing" HOTTEA, adorns the space like a bright sarape.

"Life-size friendship bracelets," Smiley described them. "It's gorgeous, just stunning."

The garden-level restaurant in the Duffey Lofts building, next to a Stalk & Spade and around the corner from a Crisp & Green, is a true cantina in the sense that it's a place where food and drink are served underground (the word is Italian in origin).

"We're excited to put it in the North Loop," Smiley said. "We've always built every brand in Wayzata, and this is a departure from that. It's a new brand. It's a new idea. And it's a new start for us in a new part of town, which I've never done in my career."

Puralima Cantina, 548 Washington Av. N., Mpls., Opens Sat. with complimentary food, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Regular hours 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun.-Wed., 10:30 a.m.-midnight Thu.-Sat.