Almost nine years ago, local entrepreneurs Sean Collins and Dave Rutter decided to open the first ever franchised Costa Vida location in Utah County. On November 25, the duo, who is now the respective CEO and president of the Mexican fast-casual chain, will open the seventh Utah County–based Costa Vida outside the University Mall at 575 East University Parkway in Orem, Utah.
To celebrate the opening in Orem, Costa Vida will award to the first 50 adults in line on November 25 one free Costa Vida entrée per week for a year.
The new restaurant will serve as the 33rd Costa Vida location in Utah and the 56th across North America. Both Collins and Rutter, as Utah County natives, have made a dedication to maintain a key number of Costa Vida restaurants as corporate-owned locations, many of which are in Utah.
“This is our home base; we love opening restaurants in Utah County because these locations serve as models for the rest of the Costa Vida brand,” Collins says. “Our plan is to continue growing and expanding both within Utah and across North America.”
The eighth Utah County–based Costa Vida restaurant is currently under construction in Lehi and is slated to open in early 2014.
“As franchisors, it’s important that we maintain a ground-level perspective on our restaurants,” Rutter says. “It helps our credibility if we’re looking to roll out a new menu item or marketing plan and we can show franchisees that we’ve successfully launched it in our home restaurants.”
Costa Vida food is made daily and the menu is inspired by the surfing culture and local cuisine of the Baja Peninsula Coast. It features made-to-order burritos, tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, salads, and nachos. Protein choices include sweet pork, grilled chicken, shredded beef, Raspberry Chipotle Chicken, grilled steak, and chile verde. Entrées are served with cilantro lime rice and black, refried, or pinto beans. House-made guacamole, sauces, and salsas can be used to customize any order and include Mango Salsa, Honey Habanero Salsa, Salsa Fresca, and Pico de Gallo.
With the exception of the flour and wheat tortillas and two desserts, Costa Vida’s menu items are gluten free.