MARSHALL - One of the newest restaurants in Marshall is inviting its customers to find their "inner Baja."
Taco Del Mar recently opened in the former Quizno's location on East College Drive. Randy and Janel Wartner are the owners. It is the first Taco Del Mar to open in Minnesota.
"I lived in Seattle for 20 years and I was familiar with it," Janel Wartner said. "It started in 1992 on Pier 57 on the waterfront."
Photo by Cindy Votruba
Marshall Taco Del Mar employee Ashleigh Roundtree spreads guacamole on a tortilla for a customer’s order recently.
Taco Del Mar opened last Monday, being the first location in Minnesota.
There was a Taco Del Mar near where she worked, Wartner said, and there was "something for everyone."
"I loved the fish tacos," she said. "It was a fresh alternative to fast food, so I loved it."
On a family vacation in 2010, Wartner introduced Randy to Taco Del Mar. At the time, Taco Del Mar Franchising had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Then Subway's parent company, Franchise World Brands, bought Taco Del Mar in 2010. Subway franchisees had first chance on opening up a Taco Del Mar restaurant, Wartner said.
"I was 'omigosh, Randy, we have to buy a Taco Del Mar,'" Wartner said.
It basically took a good year and a half for Franchise World Brands to restructure Taco Del Mar and get it on board with IPC (Independent Purchasing Cooperative), Wartner said.
So the Wartners thought about starting a Taco Del Mar for a while. Then in June, they got the go-ahead to get the store up and running in three months. They remodeled the former Quizno's and went to training. Wartner said they had looked at the Sioux City, Iowa Taco Del Mar location a couple of years ago and had recently visited the Taco Del Mar in Bismarck, N.D.
Before they opened, Wartner said they had gotten the question of whether Marshall could handle another restaurant.
"My response is I love Marshall, and anything I can do to give us more optionsI'm glad, I want to see it grow and people stay here," Wartner said.
The Wartners hired 20 new employees for the Marshall location, with Alicia Galvan as manager, and officially opened on Nov. 5.
"They're (the employees) really picking up, everyone's going really above and beyond," Wartner said.
One of Taco Del Mar's signature items is the mondo burrito, which is modeled after the mission-style burrito in San Francisco. Wartner said the workers in San Francisco's Mission District were hungry and a larger burrito fit the bill. Fish tacos, another signature item of Taco Del Mar's, was popular with surfers in California.
Ordering a meal is simple, Wartner said.
"You pick your favorite, whatever you're hungry for," she said.
And the employees make everything fresh every morning, Wartner said, which includes three salsas and a white sauce, pico de gallo and guacamole.
"Nothing is fried," Wartner said. "People say they can taste the difference, they can taste the freshness. The mondo burrito is a huge hit."
In the week it's been open, Wartner said she's seen the same people come in for lunch and then dinner.
"(We're) happy to bring the beach to Marshall," Wartner said. "The response has been overwhelming, people love it."