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GOOD EATS: San Francisco style hits Huntington with Qdoba

Mar. 11, 2010 @ 12:00 AM

BARBOURSVILLE -- Founded in Boulder, Colo., in 1995 by Anthony Miller and partner Robert Hauser, Qdoba has become one of the fastest-growing restaurant chains of the past decade bringing its San Francisco style burritos nationwide.

Initially known as Zuma, the restaurant's name was changed to Z-Teca and Qdoba to avoid confusion with a rival chain. In 2003, the chain was purchased by hamburger giant Jack in the Box, which has continued to oversee widespread growth.

The Huntington Mall franchise first opened its doors on Monday, March 8, for a special VIP fundraiser with all proceeds going to the March of Dimes. Its official opening day was Tuesday, March 9.

"The owners, Paul Passifume and Bryan Shaffer, operate a number of Papa John's franchises in the area," said Jason Mink, director of operations at the Huntington Mall Qdoba. "This is a new concept for us, and we have plans for opening around at least five more Qdoba franchises in the future. What attracted us to the chain was the quality. What brought us to this is that everything is hand-crafted and made daily. We looked at a number of different locations and decided we wanted to be here at the mall because that's where the traffic is at. We chose this location in the back of the old K.B. Toy store because we didn't need that much space. We only needed about 2,500 square feet. We started construction and signed the lease back in December. Despite the weather, we were able to finish construction in about 70 days."

The restaurant is best known for Mission-style burritos (a variety first made famous in San Francisco), as well as tacos and taco salads, which are made to order along an assembly line of fresh ingredients.

Burritos range in starting price from $5.69 for a vegetarian burrito to $6.59 for grilled steak. Chicken, shredded beef, ground beef and pulled pork also are available. For a little extra, customers can add one of four signature sauces such as the three-cheese queso or the poblano pesto. There's also guacamole, which is mashed each day while customers watch. Another favorite is the Mexican gumbo. A hearty combination of tortilla soup, rice, beans, salsa and sour cream, topped with chips. The gumbo ranges in price from $5.99 for vegetarian to $7.19. The restaurant also offers a wide variety of catering options. Box lunches are available for everyday occasions for $8 a person.

"We consider ourselves to be an artisan fast food chain. We come in every morning about three hours prior to opening and start cooking our meals," Mink said. "We start our slow-roasted pork and shredded beef that cooks for 6 to 8 hours. Our chicken is marinated in adobo spices for 24 hours before we serve it. We have an artisan table where make our pico de gallo salsa, mix our cilantro with rice and prepare our guacamole as customers watch. What makes us stand out is the quality of the ingredients we use and our signature flavors. I believe being fast, friendly and fresh is what makes us successful in business."

Qdoba Mexican Grill is located on the outside of the Huntington Mall between Borders and Sears. It is open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Cash and all major credit/debit cards are accepted. For large catering orders, customers should call at least 24 hours ahead.

For carry-out orders, catering or more information, call 304-736-3030. For more information on the chain and a full menu visit the Web site at www.qdoba.com.

If you go

WHERE: Qdoba Mexican Grill

TYPE OF FOOD: California Style Mexican

ADDRESS: 500 Mall Road, Barboursville, WV

PHONE NUMBER: 304-736-3030

PAYMENTS ACCEPTED: Cash and all major credit/debit cards.

HOURS: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

WEB SITE: www.qdoba.com

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