Not even two years after opening their first location, the founders of Twisted Burrito now have a spot that directly serves Fort Gordon.
As a disabled veteran, co-owner Jason Beall says it is special to him to have the location right off base. The location just opened in June.
“We’re proud to have the second restaurant open up, especially serving the military. … I was a Marine myself, so it was great to be able to get close to the base,” he said. “We do provide a military discount, of course, but we’re also looking to get involved with the base as far as doing different stuff with the soldiers, so I’m really happy to do that, and having the chance to go out there and take care of those guys is pretty cool.”
Beall and his business partner, Steve Fredericks, have known each other since the early ’90s. They both ended up being managers at an Applebee’s location and have been in the restaurant business ever since. Beall said before they got together for Twisted Burrito, Fredericks had moved to Kentucky for about 10 years before coming back.
“(When) I heard he had moved back, I thought he was the perfect person to reach out to and say ‘hey, let’s do a restaurant together,’” Beall said, “so we came up with the concept, thought it through and took a chance.”
The risk turned out to be a success. After getting together to start planning in 2014, they opened their first restaurant in Evans in September 2015, and it was a hit that lived up to its name. Beall and Fredericks took what people know about traditional Mexican restaurants and turned that on its head, offering burritos with ingredients that weren’t being used on burritos anywhere else in the area – such as french fries instead of rice and fried mozzarella sticks.
Their restaurants’ crew members also are taught to build the burritos a little differently from traditional burritos.
“When you go to a regular burrito place, … it’s kind of layered — so they put the rice down, the chicken down, and the cheese,” Beall said. “But what we do is, we put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix it together. So when you do that, you get the same flavor in every bite. And that’s important because a lot of times, when you get a burrito, all the chicken somehow gets to the bottom of the burrito, or all the different stuff is down there and you’re just eating rice. So we try to mix it thoroughly before we wrap it up.”
When someone comes into Twisted Burrito not knowing what to try, the servers will often recommend the No. 1 seller — the Bob Marley — but also ask the customers what kinds of foods they typically like.
“If someone says they like pork, I’ll steer them to the Boss Hogg, which is pulled pork with fries instead. … Everything that we have on the menu has a distinct flavor profile. You might try a burrito and say, ‘I don’t like that one,’ because of your taste, but you won’t dislike it because it doesn’t have any taste.”
Beall said they smoke their own pulled pork.
The Bob Marley burrito is described as containing jerk chicken, saffron rice, black beans, tomato, pineapple bruschetta, mixed cheese, crispy tortilla chips and chipotle mango aioli in a flour tortilla. For people who like Italian food, a popular choice is the Bada Bing, which contains smoked chicken, white rice, sundried tomato bruschetta, black beans, mozzarella cheese and pesto aioli in a flour tortilla.
Beall said one of their top sellers right now is the Goodfella, which contains fried mozzarella sticks instead of rice. It also contains smoked chicken, marinara sauce, sundried tomato bruschetta and shredded mozzarella cheese in a flour tortilla. It is served on a plate topped with extra marinara, shredded mozzarella and pesto aioli.
In the mood for a meatless burrito? The Veg Head is filled with roasted squash, zucchini, sautéed peppers and onions, black beans, saffron rice, mixed cheese, crispy onion straws and chimichurri sauce in a whole-wheat tortilla. Vegetarians may want to substitute white rice.
Plans are in the works to open a third location, which is still to be determined, and the location likely would be fast-casual, with ordering done at a counter. Their existing locations are casual dining, with full table service.
“We’re looking at maybe the downtown/North Augusta area,” Beall said. “I think we might do it a little different, like have somebody that delivers the food to you, instead of you having to come back up to the counter to get it. We’d still have alcohol, but it’d be a limited supply.”
As for their existing locations’ bars, the Evans location has six beer taps, while the one on Jimmie Dyess Parkway near Fort Gordon has 12 beers on tap. They also serve wine, but they don’t serve liquor.
“We have a variety of beer on tap, all craft,” Beall said. “We really pride ourselves on having beer that you’re not gonna find at a normal establishment restaurant. We’ve got Bud Light, Coors Light and all that stuff in the can, but we also have some great craft beers; we support the local craft, some craft beers out of Atlanta, just some really unique stuff on tap. And it really appeals to the military guys, too, because they’ve been overseas. They like to try the different beers, and that’s really where we went with that location.”
Spanning 2,660 square feet, the Fort Gordon location can seat more than 100 people, while the original location in Evans spans 2,400 feet and seats 45 to 50 people. The new location is larger because Beall and Fredericks were able to design it from the ground up, whereas the Evans location was built into an existing, former restaurant.
“We’re still just proud of the Evans location; it’s kind of where we first started,” Beall said. “We’ve got such a great following. … We’re really lucky to be in the position we’re in.”
Along with their larger burritos for adults, Twisted Burrito offers a kids’ menu for ages 12 and younger. They also have a dessert menu and offer catering services, usually served with lunch-size portion burritos.
The fries Twisted Burrito serves instead of the traditional tortilla chips are a standout — they are specially made and called Sweet Georgia Fries.
“What we do is, we take a twice-fried fry … no other fry would it work on, other than the double-coated fries, and we take a seasoning of brown sugar, chili powder and garlic salt,” Beall said. “So it’s got a little chili powder, but it’s got a little sweet taste in the end to it. So it’s totally different than anything you’d ever have on a fry. And people love it.
“You know, we were four months in, and we had a couple people say, ‘Ah, I hate the fries, get chips!’ and so I was like, ‘there’s no other better way than to ask,’ so we got on Facebook and said, ‘We’re thinking about getting chips, what are your thoughts, chips or the fries?’ and we had over 800 comments. And 780 of them were ‘the fries are amazing.’ And if you go to our Facebook page, you see that, you see people say ‘that’s the uniqueness of it, is the fact that I was totally expecting to get nacho chips and I got these fries instead, and they were amazing.’”
The fries also may come unseasoned, by request.
Beall said he and Fredericks are proud of how popular their concept has become since they first opened in 2015. In 2016, he said, they were voted best burrito by an area magazine’s readers, and they’re happy to have opened a second location so quickly — especially one that largely serves military families.
“Our food prepares fairly fast, so it’s a quick way to get in and out,” Beall said of driving off base to eat there.
For more information about Twisted Burrito, visit twistedrito.com or follow their page on Facebook. Call the Evans location at 706-869-4622, on Washington Road across from the Evans Walmart. Call the Jimmie Dyess Parkway location at 706-814-5131, outside Gate 1 at Fort Gordon.