California Tortilla Taking Its Hot Sauce to Reston

California Tortilla, where I always order the crispy beef tacos and quesadillas sprinkled with jalapeno peppers, is on a major expansion kick. The company announced this week that they signed a lease in Reston, where they will open another store this fall.

The Mexican fast-food restaurants chain signed a lease at North Point Village Center in Reston. North Point is owned by the Lerner Enterprises. You know those guys. Theodore N. "Ted" Lerner is the founder and family patriarch who last year spent $450 million to buy the Washington Nationals.

North Point Village Center has a 134,000 square foot community center that was developed in 1993 by Lerner as a place to specifically serve the daily needs of Reston residents. The anchor tenant is a Giant Food and Pharmacy. Other tenants include Boston Market, United Bank and Blockbuster Video, according to the Lerner Enterprises Web site.

I would say it's a good bet that if the California Tortilla in Reston is successful, the chain will have a spot in or near the new stadium that the city is building for Lerner and his Nationals along the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington.

The Reston restaurant will be owned by Dan Koch, who already owns the California Tortilla restaurants at Courthouse in Arlington, at Dulles International Airport and at BWI Airport.

California Tortilla, based in Rockville, is planning to open a flock of stores this year up and down the East Coast, running from Florida to Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The company already has a bunch of stores in Maryland and Virginia, and one in downtown D.C. near the Verizon Center and another in Cleveland Park.

The CT that I frequent on Cordell Avenue in Bethesda is kind of a funky place, very friendly and off-beat, with good food and "spunky" cashiers. The sign on the brownies near the cashier in Bethesda reads something like, "Darned Tasty Brownies."

The coolest part of CT, however, is its "Wall of Flame," which is what they call the 75 bottles of hot sauce that cover a wall there -- "hot sauces that'll blow your head off," says the Web site.

-- Thomas Heath

By Mike Shepard  |  July 16, 2007; 5:32 PM ET
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Hot sauce enthusiasts that frequent the tortilla might be interested to know that the hottest hot sauce in the world, as measured by scoville units, is Blair's 16 Million Reserve.

The Hot Sauce Collector

Posted by: The Hot Sauce Collector | July 16, 2007 7:39 PM

Hi Thomas --

I'm the owner of the Bethesda California Tortilla and the lady on the cup, napkins, chip bags and hot sauce bottle (basically the lady with the huge ego) and I'm thrilled to hear that you frequent the Bethesda store. Thanks so much for the kind words!

Yours Truly,
Queen of Burritos

Posted by: Pam Felix | July 17, 2007 3:40 PM

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