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Mex on the Move

Side Dishes: New Hampshire chain seeks homes in VT

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A small New Hampshire-based Mexican restaurant chain called Tío Juan’s Margaritas is hoping to bring its south-of-the-border flavors to the Green Mountains.

According to COO Bob Hoffmeister, the 19-restaurant company is famous for serving fresh versions of “the best items in all of the different food regions in Mexico,” plus a few Americanized favorites. Tex-Mex offerings such as grilled-chicken fajitas and burritos stuffed with beef, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream sit side by side with more traditional items: Think Baja shrimp, pork-carnitas enchiladas and sizzling cheese with chorizo. Salsas, guacamole and the signature Margarita mix are made fresh daily.

With two proposed Green Mountain locations — one in the Burlington area and another near Rutland — Hoffmeister believes Margaritas will be able to reach its target audience in the underserved Vermont market.

The challenges now are to find a willing franchisee and a couple of vacant locations. Unlike chains that build new structures everywhere they go, Margaritas takes over existing restaurant spaces and decks them out with Mexican sculptures, crafts and pottery. If the company finds the right person, Hoffmeister says, Margaritas could be tipping the tequila by fall.

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