Opening Tuesday in the former Zenburger space in midtown, the city’s first Baja Fresh franchise is the second California burrito chain (after Chipotle) to plant its flag in Manhattan. Baja offers a menu of different burrito styles, such as the “Nacho” (spicy, cheese, no rice), the “Ultimo” (big, rice), and the “Baja” (regular, no rice), as well as an expansive selection of salsa ranging from hot to mild, green to red, and pico de gallo. Franchise owner Neil Seth, a partner in Rare Bar and Grill and co-owner of the now-defunct Climateight in Chelsea, first ate at Baja Fresh during his graduate studies at Berkeley. “There are a lot of fast casual Mexican restaurants in New York. A lot of them don’t have the best food, and they still do great,” he reasoned. How well could a restaurant with decent food perform? If you see a second location in Times Square come fall or a Baja Fresh in Brooklyn next year, Seth could be on to something.
Baja Fresh, 465 Lexington Ave., nr. 45th St. 212-599-BAJA (2252)