El Fresco Tex-Mex grill expands with franchise-owned Alexandria location

the outside of an El Fresco Tex-Mex Grill
A franchise-owned El Fresco opening in Alexandria next month. (Courtesy El Fresco Tex-Mex Grill)
Steve Ganji is the owner of El Fresco Tex-Mex Grill. (Courtesy El Fresco Tex-Mex Grill)
the outside of an El Fresco Tex-Mex Grill

El Fresco Tex-Mex Grill, whose first restaurant was opened by Iranian immigrant Steve Ganji in Chantilly, Virginia, in 2008, has turned to franchising for expansion, with a franchise-owned El Fresco opening in Alexandria next month.

Last year, El Fresco sold its Centerville location to its first franchisee. A location in Sterling, which opened in September, and the new Alexandria location, at 7324 Richmond Highway, are franchise-owned restaurants. The original Chantilly location remains company-owned.

Ganji has more than 30 years of experience in the restaurant business, opening his first restaurant in 1988 in Alexandria, Casa Amigo, which he eventually sold.

Ganji’s decision to franchise El Fresco was prompted in part by the success of the concept and the food as well as his goal to share his experience in the business with entrepreneurs.

More than 95% of the items on the menu are prepared from scratch in-house.

El Fresco locations are fast-casual, meaning counter menu with dining room seating. Its menu is long with some 50 items, from breakfast wraps, to tacos, enchiladas, burritos, bowls and fajitas.

El Fresco Tex-Mex Grill has a concession at Eagle Bank Arena at George Mason University. It is also “the Official Burrito Bowl of Mason Athletics.”

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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