Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Wrap It Up a Contemporary Version of Burritos Is Popping Up All over Local Menus

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Wrap It Up a Contemporary Version of Burritos Is Popping Up All over Local Menus

Article excerpt

St. Louis restaurants have been proving that you can take the tortilla out of Mexico, put a little color in its cheeks, fill it with ingredients from the Mediterranean or Japan or the Middle East and sell it to hungry customers.

They're called wraps a essentially soft flour tortillas flavored with peppers or red chili or cilantro or spinach. Fast-food purveyors Long John Silver's and Taco Bell have been offering the renamed burritos since November.

But with the planned opening of a new restaurant exclusively devoted to wraps and another St. Louis chain whose menu is half wraps set to expand, the concept seems ready to finally detonate here. Chris LaRocca, owner of Clayton's popular Crazy Fish Fresh Grill, has had wraps on his menu since 1994. But he's now negotiating a location for a limited-service eatery he's planning to call Wrap Rage. "We've developed 12 recipes that diners will be able to order in both wrapped and unwrapped versions," LaRocca says, adding that he hopes to open in March. Meanwhile, Bonzai Express, a group of rice-bowl restaurants whose theme is healthy, low-fat food, changed its name last October to Crazy Bowls & Wraps, dropped the sushi from its menu and introduced nine of the cross-cultural roll-ups. They cost between $4.50 and $5.50. "There's been an incredible response," co-founder Gail Heiland-Kitsis said. "A lot of our customers eat here all the time, so they said, `you need something new.'" Crazy Bowls & Wraps unwrapped a new store in Rock Hill two weeks ago, and Heiland-Kitsis is looking for another location to help take pressure off its Clayton restaurant. "I can see 10 Bonzais across the St. Louis area," she says. Chevy's, a Mexican theme restaurant owned by PepsiCo, has had wraps on its menu for about a year. "By far our biggest seller is the chicken Dijon wrap," said Ted Geiger, vice president of operations for Chevy's. PepsiCo tore into wraps based on the success of a restaurant called World Wraps in the San Francisco area, launching their own chain, Wrapworks. …

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