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A North Carolina-based chain of fast-casual Mexican restaurants is stretching to the Queen City.
Go Burrito, which originated a decade ago in Salisbury, North Carolina, is expected to debut locally on Thursday, followed by a grand opening the next day, said Lucas Forschler, who owns the local franchise. He operates the restaurant at 2100 W. Republic Road, Ste. 124, via 417 Burrito LLC, according to the Missouri secretary of state’s office.
Forschler said his friend, Mikey Wetzel, founded Go Burrito in 2013, adding a 2015 visit with him in the restaurant planted the seed for a possible future investment.
“The vibe was awesome; the food was good, and it was insanely popular. I loved the concept but had never thought about opening a restaurant before,” he said, noting the eatery’s menu includes burritos, quesadillas, tacos, nachos and salads. “Still, I thought, ‘Man, this would be really cool if I could ever open one.’”
According to its website, the Springfield location will be the fourth for the company, which currently is open only in North Carolina and Tennessee. Another shop in Ocala, Florida, is listed as coming soon.
Aside from its food options, Go Burrito shops also include a full bar. Forschler said he’s awaiting approval for his liquor license, adding the bar likely won’t open until April.
In 2019, Wetzel began offering Go Burrito as a franchise opportunity, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed Forschler’s plans until 2021, when he said he signed on as a franchisee. He said startup costs are around $750,000, including a $30,000 franchise fee.
“It took us a long time to find a place,” he said. “We needed a bigger space that had a patio with good street frontage.”
Supply chain delays have been a frequent challenge to bring the venture to its opening date, Forschler said, noting on Monday he was awaiting delivery that day for much of the shop’s furniture.
“Some of the restaurant equipment we originally wanted, they were putting 18-24 months for us to get them,” he said. “So, we had to make some substitutions and change things around.”
Forschler said a wall that formerly separated two suites in Magers Crossing was removed to accommodate roughly 3,200 square feet needed for the eatery. Part of the space Go Burrito occupies previously housed Crave Cookie Dough LLC, which shuttered in 2020, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
It’s an additional lane on the professional road for Forschler, who said he’s worked with computers, mostly as a software engineer, for much of his career. While Forschler declined to disclose his employer, according to his LinkedIn profile, he’s worked for Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: APPL) the past 13 years, where he currently is a cloud engineer. Along with his involvement in Go Burrito, he plans to maintain his full-time job and said he’s hired Kobe Stewart to serve as the restaurant’s general manager.
The shop intends to employ 30 and remains in hiring mode as opening day approaches, Forschler said.
He said his franchise agreement gives him rights to the entire southwest Missouri area.
“The goal is to open additional restaurants,” he said, noting while Nixa, Ozark and Republic are being considered for future locations, no specific plans are in motion.
Downtown flower shop Funky Flaura’s Unique Floral Designs LLC opened; Jordan Valley Community Health Center moved in Republic; and The Jackson Grille got its start in Marshfield.