Fast-food Mexican-style coming to E’town

By: By Chrysta Carroll -

ELIZABETHTOWN — Anyone who has ever been to a Moe’s or a Chipotle restaurant and enjoyed the dining experience will soon be able to partake of Elizabethtown’s own version when three of San Jose’s owners open a new restaurant in town this summer, California Burrito.

“We wanted something different from San Jose,” said Josue Flores, one of the owners of the future establishment. “Sometimes people want to come in and sit down and enjoy a meal, but sometimes they just want something faster. We get a lot of construction workers coming in, and they just want to order something and eat it right away.”

While conceiving of a Mexican restaurant with faster service than San Jose may initially seem like a stretch, Flores was determined that such would be the case.

“There are fast-food burger places, but there are no fast-food Mexican places,” he said. “That’s what this will be like.”

Sergio Balerio, server and assistant to the manager at San Jose, translated questions posed to Pablo Meca, one of the other owners of California Burrito.

According to Meca, California Burrito will be a counter restaurant where patrons enter and select a type of tortilla and which kind of meat — steak, grilled chicken, or carnitas (marinated pork) — they would like, choose from either rice, black beans or pinto beans, and then select fillings Subway-style. Toppings will include such items as guacamole, chipotle sauce, hot peppers, lettuce, sour cream, and pico de gallo. The restaurant will have a kitchen, but only to prepare the items that will be on the bar.

Flores said that they will use some of the same recipes as San Jose, such as those used to marinate meat or the recipes for pico de gallo or guacamole, but that the menu would be completely different.

“From the time you come in until the time you get your food will probably be less than 10 minutes, even with a crowd,” said Balerio. “The moment you ask, they’re making it for you.”

Flores reported that, while some of the owners of San Jose would be the owners of California Burrito, the latter would be an entirely different corporation.

California Burrito will be located in the old Front Porch Restaurant building, whose last occupant was La Hacienda, and the new lessees have plans to paint the outside of the orange building.

“I’m happy for them to come,” said landlord Robin Summerlin. “They’re a good operating company, and they have good financial strength.”

California Burrito should be open for both lunch and supper around the first of July.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

By Chrysta Carroll