Alan Cohen and Pam Felix opened the first California Tortilla at 4862 Cordell Avenue in 1995. In September, they’ll move the store across the street, a small but significant step for the flagship franchise of the fast casual Mexican restaurant that has grown to 38 locations around the Washington area and the Northeast.
The move to 4871 Cordell Avenue (next to Freddy’s Lobster) should be complete by mid-September, California Tortilla President Bob Phillips said. The lease is ending at the original store and the new location has more space.
Cohen and Felix still own the franchise and have been on-site as crews work on the interior, an “exciting” time for the Rockville-based burrito chain that takes pride in its “spunky cashiers,” and unique promotional events, such as the “Free Burrito Day” in the works for the new location’s grand opening.
There’s also the 2012 Presidential Burrito Bowls. (There’s the Obama’s Chicken Teriyaki Luau Bowl and the Romney’s Mexican Mitt-Loaf Bowl.)
Much of the company’s quirky persona came from Cohen and Felix at the original restaurant.
“The Bethesda market has been great,” Phillips said. “It just seemed that spot has more visibility, a really nice patio and we saw it as an opportunity to get a larger space.”
Vice President of Marketing Stacey Kane said the restaurant will sell off items from the original franchise at a still-in-the-works goodbye event. All proceeds will go to the Dine Out For No Kid Hungry campaign.