Longtime Chattanooga Businessman Brings Tennessee’s First California Tortilla to Hixson on October 29

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Divyesh Modi is Kicking Off California Tortilla’s Presence in Tennessee, Marking The First of Over 20 Planned Locations For The State

Divyesh Modi and his close-knit family have been fixtures in the Chattanooga, Tennessee business community since 1984, from hotels to liquor stores and back again. Now, Modi is entering the restaurant arena for the first time with California Tortilla as he prepares to open the brand’s first restaurant in the state at 5215 Highway 153 in Hixson, right at the intersection of 153 and Hamill Rd.

To commemorate its arrival in the Tennessee market, California Tortilla is hosting a Grand Opening celebration on October 29. From 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Cal Tort Chattanooga will be offering $5 burritos and bowls to all guests, with a portion of the proceeds donated to Susan G. Komen® Central Tennessee.

Modi, a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga graduate, and his family first discovered California Tortilla when exploring businesses to bring to Chattanooga. Owning a restaurant had always been something the Modi family was interested in pursuing, and the California-style Mexican restaurant concept jumped off the screen at him.

Since 1995, California Tortilla has brought a fresh perspective to “California-style” Mexican flavors. The brand’s open-concept kitchen gives guests a peek into the daily process of preparing more than 25 small-batch recipes in-house from the freshest ingredients possible. Cal Tort’s extensive menu offers chef-inspired as well as build-your-own options, pulling inspiration from the global community for both menu staples and rotating options that can’t be found anywhere else.

“I love Mexican food and could tell California Tortilla was a unique player in the space,” Modi said. “Nothing is pre-cooked and food is fresh every day, and that interested me because that’s exactly what everyone is looking for but no one can find in our community. Almost everyone likes something in this category—it's so broad and so big that we thought Chattanooga could use a new alternative to what’s out there.”

Specifically, Modi said, California Tortilla’s chef-driven menu full of fresh and delicious creations made a lot of sense in Chattanooga because the similar concepts in the area didn’t function in a fast casual setting, nor did they offer the same level of quality as Cal Tort. Modi was further impressed by Cal Tort’s commitment to freshness—none of its restaurants even have freezers in the kitchens—and the brand’s robust catering program, from fajita bars to burrito parties.

“We have a little bit of something for everyone and couldn’t be more excited to introduce the Chattanooga community to our vast menu and exceptional customer service,” said Karen Dawit, Director of Marketing for California Tortilla. “Our guests are everyday adventurers who love good food and being with their favorite people. We have big plans for this location and can’t wait to grow our involvement with the local community over time.”

The Chattanooga grand opening marks a significant developmental milestone for California Tortilla—it’s the first to feature the brand’s revamped ordering model that prioritizes customer experience, ensures 100% order accuracy and customizes orders to meet customers’ cravings called the ACE Model for “Accuracy, Customization and Engagement.” The brand also sees enormous potential for expansion throughout Tennessee, with the Nashville metro area capable of holding as many as 12 restaurants, while Memphis could support 10 and Knoxville could support another six.

“It’s exciting to be establishing our presence in an entirely new state like Tennessee in partnership with such a seasoned entrepreneur,” said California Tortilla Director of Franchise Development Aaron Goldberg. “We’re looking forward to introducing ourselves to the Chattanooga market and continuing to grow the brand throughout Tennessee with the help of like-minded multi-unit and multi-concept operators in Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville, as well.”

Since 1995, California Tortilla has brought a fresh perspective to “California-style” Mexican flavors. The fast-casual Mexican restaurant franchise's signature, made-to-order food is all made in-house from fresh, never-frozen ingredients, ensuring the highest-quality menu offering at all 45 of its locations. For more information, please visit https://franchise.californiatortilla.com/.

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Madeline Lena
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