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Baja Fresh Closed
updated: Nov 30, 2011, 1:23 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Looks like Baja Fresh in La Cumbre Plaza has folded. I was just there over the weekend, but today went I went for lunch there are signs on the door that say permanently closed. Anyone know what happened?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 236869 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-11-30 01:25 PM

Yep, this has been in the works for a while, Baja Fresh has been in financial trouble and this stroe was under-preforming.. Chipotle will be takings its place


 COMMENT 236872 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-11-30 01:30 PM

Chipotle's coming soon. It was in the Daily Sound this week or last.


 COMMENT 236888P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-11-30 02:01 PM

I always found the food reliable, but something about the floor plan and lighting was exceptionally uninspiring.
I love how one chain just takes over for another chain. So much for locally owned small business.


 COMMENT 236892 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-11-30 02:12 PM

88 - its all good - back to work!


 COMMENT 236894 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-11-30 02:16 PM

A non-business friendly environment (high taxation, regulation, high minimum wage standards etc) do not allow local small businesses to thrive.

If Californians want local and small businesses to make it and not larger corporations, that can often withstand these sort of heavy handed, government restrictions and hurdles, they need to start voting for business friendly politicians, lower taxation and government spending in general.

Also minimum wage elevations can be crushing on the survival of small business.

I often hear Californians talking down corporations, yet they continue to put in office people that spend tax monies (that they often do not even have) wildly and inappropriately and also always support minimum wage increases etc as well heavy handed government regulation.

There are consequences for every decision. If we want a community with lots of successful small businesses we need to create that environment.


 COMMENT 236903P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-11-30 02:41 PM

Its probably a little less sinister than some posters assume, Baja Fresh and La Salsa have the same owners. They probably realized didn't need two company owned stores in such close proximity (across street from each other) and closed the one with higher costs/less revenue. If the Baja Fresh had lower rent and higher sales it undoubtably would have been the one staying. I doubt they counted on Chipotle moving in though which probably will have a bigger impact on the remaining company store than intra company competition.


 COMMENT 236914 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-11-30 03:23 PM

Taxation and regulation have nothing to do with Baja Fresh closing. Their business model didn't work for Santa Barbara. Prices can't compete with fast food like Taco Bell but then at the price Baja Fresh sells their food, people would rather pick one of the many authentic taquerias and Mexican restaurants. On top of that, Baja Fresh redesigned their menu many times and the quality of their food diminished. I was there a few months ago and got the nacho burrito, half the ingredients were missing and it was barely warm as it if was microwaved frozen.


 COMMENT 236921P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-11-30 03:40 PM

No love loss. I am all for good food but I must admit the locally Mexican food places are a much better choice. I may not be able to afford to buy my toilet paper or other household items from a local business I sure do like local food!!


 COMMENT 236925 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-11-30 03:45 PM

last time I looked Baja Fresh wasn't a local, small business 14.

The comments regarding hinderances and challenges to local, small businesses were just that--pertaining to the maturation and growth of local small business.


 COMMENT 236926 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-11-30 03:47 PM

woohoo, love chipotle. If y'all hate corps so much, don't eat there. simple.


 COMMENT 236927 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-11-30 03:50 PM

I disagree with 894. I ate at Baja Fresh frequently and saw their business drop substantially over the years. I'm sure if the place is as consistently packed as it was 4 or 5 years ago they'd not be closing.

As far as regulations hurting small businesses; it's a level playing field. Baja Fresh obeys the same OSHA / APCD / EPA rules and pays the same Unemployment / Workman's Comp / Income Taxes as any locally-owned business (such as Rudy's, a competitor right down the street).


 COMMENT 236928 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-11-30 03:53 PM

Chipotle is the peanut-butter-and-jelly-on-wonder-bread of Mexican food restaurants.


 COMMENT 236949 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-11-30 04:53 PM

Huh. I never knew one was there and I used to live close by (go to La Salsa pretty frequently).


 COMMENT 236950P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-11-30 04:54 PM

I disagree. Chipotle has quality ingredients and simple dishes, and it is quick fuel. It's not designed to be a gourmet experience, but it's more like an organic fast food mexican place. I think you must be talking about Taco Bell.


 COMMENT 236951 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-11-30 04:55 PM

Chipotle has pretty fresh, humanely harvested and non GMO, low pesticide food. It's not meant to be a traditional mexican restaurant. I like that you can get pretty much anything on their menu prepared in any way you want (salad bowl instead of a burrito bowl, etc.) Try doing that at La Salsa or Baja Fresh. They would look at me like I was crazy and half the time get the order wrong anyway.

I'm really happy to see another Chipotle. I had no illusions that it would be a local place or local chain going in there, but I'm happy it's not something super unhealthy and gross.


 COMMENT 236983 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-11-30 06:38 PM

Chipotle was founded by a very smart man. There are no specials, there is no dessert. They offer the same high quality, relatively healthy items every day. The decor is intentionally stark and clean. The founder saw to every specific detail. And what I appreciate the most, their management does not allow the slack that can happen when businesses come here. Standards are maintained. I hope their new location is successful.


 COMMENT 237006 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-11-30 08:10 PM

Baja Fresh ran its course like a bad case of Montezuma's revenge.


 COMMENT 237044P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-12-01 06:17 AM

chipotle tastes like the smell of vomit. that's what being a mcdonalds franchise for nearly a decade will do to ya i guess. undercooked white rice and shredded lettuce in a burrito? i'll pass!


 COMMENT 237064 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-12-01 07:04 AM

La Salsa and Baja Fresh owned by the same company?? Whoddathunkit... their food is as different as night and day. I thought Baja Fresh was only a step above Taco Hell but and an expensive step at that.

Anyone pointing the finger at govt. intervention for the bad business model is hell bent on a single/simple minded political agenda.


 COMMENT 237099 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-12-01 08:06 AM

I'm surprised by how many dislike Baja Fresh. I went there maybe every few months - but found their veggie burrito to be fine - just substitute guacamole for the sour cream and the cheese - they have whole black beans and whole pinto beans and not refried garbage. They have a big salsa bar (I'm referring to the Goleta store -never went to La Cumbre) with freshly made salsa that is very well done - plus other sauces like moles, hot and mild, etc. You can even take the salsa with you to go in little containers. The place seemed clean relatively. Food wasn't overloaded with salt - though it was a little salty. I find Chipotle to be a little over rated - and talk about salty!


 COMMENT 237116 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-12-01 08:48 AM

i just wish chipotle tasted better. there's strange spices in there. i like freebirds for burritos.


 COMMENT 237139P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-12-01 09:26 AM

As someone who had a business in SB, retail, for more than a decade, its not a unfriendly toward business taxation system that kills, its the GREEEED of the landlords.


 COMMENT 237153 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-12-01 10:04 AM

Maybe their gentrified clientele realized that upscale tacos intrinsically are a contradiction in terms and that the best ones are sold out of lunch trucks for 50 cents a piece.


 COMMENT 237154 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-12-01 10:07 AM

They couldn't get rid of the cockroaches and rats.


 COMMENT 237178 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-12-01 10:48 AM

I can't figure out what it is that makes people love Chipotle so much. We live in CA ... we have PLENTY of quality, authentic Mexican restaurants w/ inexpensive menus. Even Taco Bell tastes better than Chipotle imo.


 COMMENT 237184 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-12-01 10:58 AM

McDonalds is the parent company for Chipotle, so it should be GREAT food


 COMMENT 237196P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-12-01 11:32 AM

FYI, McDonalds and Chipotle parted ways some time ago, they are completely divested from one another.


 COMMENT 237199 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-12-01 11:44 AM

The claims by 236894 are counter to every study ever done. As for who people put in office, it was last decade that revenues were drastically cut while at the same time recklessly spending on reckless enterprises that only now are being wound down.


 COMMENT 237339 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-12-01 05:54 PM


I would say all Mexican restaurants in town are semi authentic. They cater to whites. Most whites are not adventurous when it comes to food. I have never seen anyone non Mexican order eye ball tacos at lilys tacos. More proof is rarely do Mexican restaurants in town add pigs feet to their menudo. I actually like chipotles barbacoa(cows head)


 COMMENT 237372P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-12-01 07:52 PM

339, you're probably right. i just wasn't raised on eye, tongue and tripe so the flavors and textures are uncomfortably foreign to my pallet. that being said the maciza tacos at lily's are my go to, if i eat a burrito it most likely comes from la chapala market in old town and i've got a favorite carniceria in town i go to for tortas. you better believe they're two doors down from a mexican bakery too ;)


 COMMENT 237450 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-12-02 08:41 AM

To 236894 When people earn even less than minimum wage, how do you think they survive? They will probably qualify for food stamps or other govt subsidies so they can have food, clothing, lodging & health care. Who pays for that? The taxpayer. So whine away about the oppressive govt but if a business can't be profitable & adequately pay their employees (keeping them off the dole) then find another business venture


 COMMENT 237454 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-12-02 08:51 AM

I liked Baja Fresh, it was filling and better than La Salsa. Chipotle has some good size burritos but they are pricey. As for comment 339, there is some authentic Mexican food in town but obviously not compared to if you are in Mexico. I am White and have probably ate more authentic food from around the world than you have. Food like tripe, eyeball, tongue, were all eaten by the poorer Mexicans in Mexico who couldn't afford beef, pork, or chicken. They developed a pallet to it, similar how you tame your pallet to wine or different foods. If you go to Mexico and ask a countryman whether they would have tripe or beef all would take beef. Go to New Zealand and try Whitebait, it is a delicacy you would probably not like, but if you are a native or have tried it a few times you understand why it is a delicacy. Many references could be made but the bottom line is your in the US so they cater to American pallets or they don't make it.


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