Monday, March 14, 2011

Nothing Like Brockton's Burrito Wraps

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—The first place Hanson residents Bill Hogan and his son Dan thought of to spend a recent Tuesday afternoon for lunch is Brockton’s Burrito Wraps Mexican Grill.
“We come as often as we can. There’s nothing like it in the area,” Hogan said, dipping a crisp homemade nacho chip into the house specialty jabernero salsa sauce served as a complimentary appetizer and one of Hogan’s favorites.
“The food’s great, the service is great and the atmosphere is great,” Hogan said. (Pictured above with owner Alex Perez)
Brockton’s Burrito Wrap and Mexican Grill’s first location was opened in May, 2008 by owner Alex Perez at 688 Crescent St., in the Brockton East shopping plaza--a strip mall best known for Christo’s Restaurant and other businesses like Radio Shack and Family Dollar.
“This is one of those places where you can’t judge the book by its cover,” owner Alex Perez said.
Anyone looking at the strip mall entrance from the outside would never believe the warmth and savory aromas found inside.
Perez’s second restaurant was opened in February, 2009 at 707 Warren Ave. and has more of an atmosphere similar to Perez’s adolescence in Los Angeles, where his family moved when he was 11-years-old.
Once stepping over the threshold of his restaurants, a visitor is transported to a slice of Mexico, similar to the traditional Mexican bistros Perez said he remembers from his childhood in his native Mexico and has tried hard to emulate—right down to dishes that are freshly prepared every day and originate from the spices, meats and sauces in the kitchens of his mother and grandmother.
“I won’t give up until I get that flavor, that taste from my childhood,” Perez said.
It seems to have worked.
“I’ve heard things from customers like, “I feel like I just traveled to Mexico,” Perez said.
Perez, 49 until his birthday next month, was the proud winner of the first THRIVE Award, given by the Brockton 21st Century Corp. to the best minority or women owned business of the year.
Perez was one of 12 nominees for the award whose criteria includes giving back to the community in different ways and a business that has received assistance from the Brockton 21st Century Corp., MetroSouth Chamber of Commerce, or numerous programs such as SEED Corp. or U.S. Small Business Administration.
In choosing Perez for the inaugural award, the Brockton 21st Century Corp. states, “Alex and Burrito Wrap, Mexican Grill is a role model for our women and minority owned businesses. He has also invested in a neighborhood that others lost interest and has made a successful destination for those looking for quality Mexican food. Alex and Burrito Wraps has put Brockton on the map for the best Mexican food.”
Perez has donated money or time to several local organizations, including, YMCA, Brockton Day Nursery, Trinity Catholic, and has sponsored blood drives, little league teams and, Project Guardian Angel.
Anyone who has been at many of the events in the city will recognize Perez, a tall, dark and handsome man wearing a blue-denim oxford shirt with his Burrito Wrap logo, neatly creased dress pants handing out coupons for specials at Burrito Wraps.
Perez jokes that it is a good thing his shops remind him of home, because he pretty much lives at the restaurants.
Like many start-up business owners, Perez works around the clock.
When he is not serving customers, he is running the register, ordering groceries or helping general manager Francisco Harnadis (Pictured above with Perez) ready deliveries for callers ordering take-out and delivery.
When he’s not juggling in-shop needs, he’s checking the books, weighing money coming in and money going out, and sometimes wonders if he can make it, but pushes doubts aside and thanks his wife Cheryl, and three children, Chelsea, 20, Gabriella, 17, and Adam, 15—who often helps out at the restaurant—for their support and patience.
“It’s hard to balance everything—the business and time for family,” Perez said.
Perez said he is doing well enough to “keep the doors open,” but hopes word spreads about the restaurants and more customers are introduced to his home-style blend of authentic Mexican food and drink, including Jarritos soda, homemade sangria and margaritas.
Mexican food devotees could not name a restaurant in the area that compares to Burrito Wraps.
“I come all the time. I love it,” said Brockton resident Jesus Arocho, who brought his 16-month old granddaughter Isabella in for a couple of burritos and tacos.
Arocho (Pictured above with Isabella and Harnadis) said he is Puerto Rican, but when he eats food from Burrito Wraps it's like being home.
"There's nowhere around here like this," he said.
Perez said he left the mutual fund industry to open Burrito Wraps. As his own boss, he follows in the footsteps of his father Lorenzo who was a successful businessman selling coal and fire wood to the bakeries and industries near his native San Luis Potosi, a central Mexico city with a population of more than 2 million.
Perez said while he is new to the restaurant business, he is not new to excellent ingredients, creative recipes and outstanding service and is enthusiastic about the restaurant’s future.
“The experience is passion,” Perez said.
Visit Burrito Wraps Mexican Grill website for a complete menu and hours.

No comments:

Post a Comment