It’s difficult to imagine expanding a restaurant business in the midst of a pandemic. Other than airlines, no industry has taken a more direct hit.
But often in times of misfortune, there is opportunity and the timing couldn’t be better for Quesadilla Gorilla. This is no corporate chain — the smart homestyle eatery is the creation of Miguel and Mikayla Reyes, two twenty-something-year-old entrepreneurs who founded Visalia’s Quesadilla Gorilla in 2013.
The all-items-to-go restaurant worked well in 2013, and it will work even better now.
When you visit the 400-square-foot shop located by the Fox Theatre in downtown Visalia, one might wonder how all that goodness comes out of such a small place. The owners opened that shop in 2013 and the homemade Mexican cuisine was a hit right out of the gate. It has proved especially popular with the 21-45 crowd who have the discretionary income to eat out.
It wasn’t long before Miguel and Mikayla opened another location in Fresno and then bought a food truck. The Fresno clientele convinced the couple to offer vegan quesadillas and soon the business received a bump in revenue from customers who want a dairy-free alternative to the more traditional dishes.
A couple months ago the food truck — which is equipped better and has a bigger kitchen than the Visalia location, Miguel said — blew its engine. So Miguel and Mikayla parlayed that misfortune into trying to find a suitable location to park the truck elsewhere. It was actually a Three Rivers customer looking for a vegan lunch who suggested to Miguel that maybe he could bring the truck to Three Rivers.
While Miguel was weighing his options, Mike and Debbie Hauber, who own the corner piece of property adjacent to the now-closed Three Rivers Golf Course with highway frontage, got wind that Quesadilla Gorilla was looking at Three Rivers.
The couples met over dinner last week and both players came out of the meeting committed to making the deal a reality. It’s not time to tell the rest of the story just yet but a family-owned business with great food coming to Three Rivers is good news we all could use.