Since the economy got flushed down the toilet, the fast-casual sector has been on the rise. It seems like once a day, a new burger joint or burrito place is opening its doors -- it's almost not even news at this point.
There are, however, some exceptions. Late last month, Salsa Fiesta made its way into downtown Fort Lauderdale. The fourth location in Florida, its Lauderdale location is the first and only to offer breakfast, seven days a week. Breakfast burritos: Maybe it's just us, but we think that deserves some recognition.
Clean Plate Charlie spoke to Salsa Fiesta founder and CEO Cesar Olivo about the new spot, the most important meal of the day, and allergy-conscious options.
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the new spot features a selection of fast and fresh Mexican-inspired meals. Burritos ($5.99 to $7.99), tacos ($2.99 for one to $6.99 for three), fajitas ($9.99 to $10.99), and quesadillas ($4.99 to $7.49) are available with numerous meat and tortilla options. Most menu items can be made to accommodate any dietary issue: vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free.
Olivo is sympathetic toward dietary restrictions, most specifically gluten intolerances.
"We've had some issues with a member of the family, so we've seen gluten-free issues," he said. "We want to try to make things easier for that population. It's especially hard to find gluten-free options for breakfast."
Salads ($5.99 to $8.99), nachos and tostones ($6.99 to $8.69), tostadas ($3.99 to $5.99), tortas ($6.99 to $7.99), and house combos ($9.99 to $11.49) are also available with vegetarian, chicken, carnitas, fish, beef, and fish options.
According to Olivo, "We try to have everything fresh; if we can buy local, we do. Everything is prepared in-house, like, homemade."
The spot prides itself on having ticket times of less than five minutes from ordering.
Breakfast follows the fast, allergy-consicous approach. Again, most of the options are gluten-free including a Mexican style waffle ($5.99) made with almond flour, topped with Azteca cinnamon sugar, mango, and whipped cream, served with agave nectar and guava dipping sauce; and Molcajete slim fit ($3.99), low-fat yogurt with mango, gluten-free granola, and agave nectar.
Heartier, more traditional breakfast options include Levanta Muerto Soup ($3.99), "hangover tortilla soup" topped with a fried egg; and Huevos Rancheros ($4.99), two sunny-side-up eggs served over crispy corn tortillas with black bean sauce and crushed chili salsa.
At the moment, Salsa Fiesta is serving breakfast only in the Fort Lauderdale location. The goal is to eventually spread breakfast service to all locations.
"We think we're going to have to work really hard to give people the idea that Salsa Fiesta is not just for lunch and dinner," said Olivo. "We thought it would be a good idea to start with breakfast here [in Fort Lauderdale], because we're in a downtown area that is demanding about breakfast. We've had people coming in a 8 a.m.; we've been happy so far."
Currently, Olivo is in the process of applying for permits that would allow beer and wine sales on the property and construction of an outdoor patio. "We're hoping for the end of July," he said.
Breakfast is available from 8 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to noon on weekends. Salsa Fiesta is located at 35 N. Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-763-3435, or visit salsafiestagrill.com.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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