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In late 2014, California Tortilla will open its doors in Montvale, New Jersey, the first location in the New York City metropolitan area for the D.C.-based chain. Situated in the Chestnut Ridge Shopping Center, the fast-casual concept brings its popular menu and brand to the New Jersey suburb, offering fresh, re-imagined Mexican fare in a fun and family-friendly setting.
Franchise owners Debbie, Paul, and Lauren Sanford know a thing or two about family: the mother, father, and daughter are equal partners in their new restaurant. Lauren Sanford initially hatched the idea to open a California Tortilla in her hometown of Bergen County over two years ago, following an initial visit to California Tortilla’s Newark, Delaware location; she was impressed with the quality and freshness of the food, and the fun and quirkiness of the California Tortilla brand. But finding the right location turned out to be a challenge. As it turned out, the perfect fit was underfoot all along.
“As a wine importer and distributor, my offices were located in Montvale, so I witnessed the growth of the neighborhood into the vibrant, upscale community it is today,” Paul Sanford says. “When this location became available, right across the street from KPMG, BMW, and Mercedes Benz, we jumped at the opportunity to move in.”
The first-time franchisees each bring their different strengths to the table. “Dad is a foodie, and through his work in the wine industry, he knows restaurants—and good food,” Lauren Sanford says. “Mom is fantastic with customer service and can speak with anyone.” Lauren Sanford will oversee the store’s marketing efforts, tapping into her expertise in social media and partnerships. “It’s great having three different outlooks,” Debbie Sanford says. “We learn from one another.”
The restaurant seats 40 inside, with limited outdoor seating available seasonally.
California Tortilla Montvale will celebrate the grand opening by serving free burritos and a beverage for both lunch and dinner service. Plus, they’ll be offering free burritos for a whole year to the first 20 customers in line that morning.