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Monday, September 12, 2011

Next: The Burrito Wars?

Oy, Dios mio! Who knew the story behind the opening of Tomatillos was such a drama? (It's beginning to remind me a bit of the drama that followed the closing of Havana Sandwich Shop on Buford Highway.)

Matt Hinton, the owner of Bell Street Burritos, has written about the formation and collapse of his business partnership with Eric Kaiser of Grant Central Pizza on Facebook. Hinton, to refresh your memory, opened Bell Street Burritos at Sweet Auburn Curb Market as an explicit, obsessive and wonderfully successful effort to recreate the food of Tortillas, a popular burrito joint throughout the '90s. Then he agreed to partner with Kaiser to extend the concept to the building that has opened as Tomatillos. Here's the whole story on Facebook. I have no idea why he doesn't name names, but check it out to read comments too:

Howdy folks!

I will be making an announcement about a new location very soon, but in the meantime, I suppose I should address this:

Back in February, it was announced by a particular Atlanta blog that Bell Street Burritos would be opening a new location in East Atlanta. Ever since then, hardly a week goes by that someone doesn't ask about the new East Atlanta location. Here's the very short version: On New Year's Eve, I was approached by the owner of a certain restaurant in East Atlanta, asking if I wanted to partner on a second location of Bell Street Burritos. He had acquired a suitable building and thought it would be a good fit. I agreed, and in January we began work. We worked on design, build out, and equipment acquisition for about 4 months. It was during this time that he informed the above blog of our plans (somewhat prematurely, perhaps, since we had not yet finalized our partnership agreement— we were working in good faith, as it were, so we could get the place generating income to pay his mortgage). In April, though, he decided, for reasons that are still somewhat unclear to me, that he would prefer to go it alone.

So, he has now opened the shop with a different name, and I've already had people come back to Bell Street Burritos, saying that they went there thinking it was associated with us, and were disappointed that it wasn't. I have resisted the urge to comment upon any of this in a "public" forum like this, but, between the confusion of our very faithful customers and now a short review about that new spot which raises the question of its connection with us, I felt it would be best to address it here.

Any new location of Bell Street Burritos will be called "Bell Street Burritos".

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