Thursday, October 1, 2020

[BUSTED BURRITO] Salsarita's Fresh Mexican Grill Exits Metro Atlanta

Salsarita's Fresh Mexican Grill has closed its only Atlanta area location.  The restaurant, located at 5215 Windward Parkway in Alpharetta, closed quietly in recent days after about five years in business.  The restaurant, which replaced what was then the first Uncle Maddio's Pizzas to close,  opened in late 2015 and was to be the first of seven in the Atlanta area from franchisee Nick Patel. 

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based chain, founded in 2000 and today with about 80 locations spread across 17 states, is the latest quick-serve Mexican chain to have trouble breaking into the loyal and competitive metro Atlanta market.  Atlanta-born mega chain Moe's Southwest Grill, local favorite Willy's Mexicana Grill and national chain Chipotle Mexican Grill dominate the Atlanta market, leaving little room for "me too" smaller chains with limited differentiation or brand recognition.  

Salsarita's joins a growing list of small-to-medium sized burrito joints that fizzled in their attempts to break into the Atlanta market. [Fuzzy's Taco Shop, a slightly more differentiated concept with tacos, burritos, nachos & more, closed their Windward Parkway location in January.]  Prior closures of quick-serve burrito-centric chains in metro Atlanta include Coralville, Iowa-based Panchero's Mexican Grill, which opened in downtown Atlanta in 2009 and closed less than a year later.  Mojo Burrito, based in Chattanooga, opened a location in Dunwoody in early 2014, but by late 2014 it had closed.  Salt Lake City's Barbacoa fared marginally better, closing in Kennesaw in early 2016 after about fifteen months in business.  By the time Nashville's Blue Coast Burrito entered the Atlanta market in late 2017, the trend was pretty clear, so it was less than shocking when they closed thirteen months later.  

Despite the struggles of other chains in metro Atlanta, Salsarita's franchisee Patel was rather optimistic that the concept was poised to see success in the market.  "It’s always satisfying to get in on the ground floor of a concept that’s sure to grow in coming years, and with Salsarita’s I see a business that’s primed for continued growth.” Patel said ahead of the restaurant's debut in 2015

The Alpharetta Salsarita's has been removed from the corporate website, but the chain's former presence in "Atlanta" is still referred to on the site. "And it’s why from Buffalo, NY to Atlanta, GA to Tyler, TX, Salsarita’s is almost always the locals’ choice for 'Best Mexican Food.'"

Did you ever eat at Salsarita's?  What is your favorite quick-serve burrito joint?  What would you like to see open in place of Salsarita's in Alpharetta?

Please share your thoughts below. 


BigRedDogATL said...

The restaurant actually closed in early August, 2020, not long after it received a bad health inspection. That health inspection found gnats and other bugs in the food on the prep line.

My contacts tell me that the owner tried to sell of the restaurant but couldn't find a buyer. The lease was due to expire this fall and he didn't plan to renew it.

Anonymous said...

Went once not long after it opened for takeout. No one else there and the food wasn't anything special. There's Chipotle right across Windward and Fuzzy's just down the street before it closed, which probably didn't help.

I wonder what will go into that space now. I believe when we first moved to Alpharetta it was a Carvel's ice cream.

Jodyml813 said...

Yes, it was a Carvel!

Jodyml813 said...

I tried it a couple of times when they first opened and wasn't impressed. Too many other options in the area that are better.Chipotle/Willy's.

I was also surprised to see that QT is going into the spot on Highway 9 and Windward where the rite aid used to be in front of Lowe's.

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