Matthew Lickona 2 p.m., June 19
Torta: America's Next Hamburger?
Things are looking good for Bolillo (Bolillo Tortas, 417 Fourth Avenue, downtown, 619-203-2728), the torta place in the Gaslamp that Mary Beth Abate discovered last December when they were brand new.
In two months’ time, a year after they opened here, they’re opening a second place in UTC (4545 La Jolla Village Drive), in the Westgate mall.
“The nice thing was, Westgate asked us,” says Stefano Pezzotti, who started the Bolillo ball, uh, rolling. “That was a real complement. It showed we were on the right track.”
Happy crew: Shawn and Jovel. Rabbit ears from unknown helper
Pezzotti is a Mexico City native who has worked in the restaurant biz in Cancun for many years before coming here to San Diego.
Some crazy specials
“I’ve always had this dream,” he says, “of making tortas popular in this country. As hamburgers are. Tortas are so much a part of life in Mexico City, and around the country. So when I came here, eleven years ago, and began working in the restaurant business, I was always looking for the opportunity to open my first torta restaurant. Basically, making tortas but not in a hole-in-the-wall atmosphere. You see here we have wine, beers, salads, desserts, it’s a nice place for families, business people, but still at low prices.”
And that’s when you see the light in his eyes.
“Next, I want to have Bolillos everywhere. To franchise.”
He sure seems to have made a good start here, and with the coming UTC outlet. “And,” he confides, “we may be opening in Escondido too. But that’s not finalized.”
Wow. And then?
“We want to become the premier torteria in the country,” he says. “I want Bolillo to be bigger than Chipotle! And they have 500 outlets already.”
Jovel's delivery trike: First of many?
Hmm. 'Course, I have to try one of these things.
I get the eggs and chorizo with salad and cheese-and-bacon grilled jalapeno ($7.50). Totally lush and delish.
More about this in a Tin Fork.