3 Pepper Burrito Co. is as red hot as a Carolina Reaper.
The local restaurant concept is spreading like wildfire through the region since Tim Goff and Justin O’Brien opened their first location in Cape Coral in November 2014. They plan to open their eighth location this month in Estero and their next two in North Naples and Fort Myers this year.
It’s incredible to think that 3 Pepper Burrito Co. could be celebrating its fifth anniversary this fall with 10 locations. In addition to the original in Cape Coral, the eatery has locations in downtown Fort Myers, at The Forum in Fort Myers, on Daniels Parkway in south Fort Myers, and in Lehigh Acres, Port Charlotte and Sarasota.
The restaurants are all company-owned, but franchises may be a possibility in the future, O’Brien said.
“We are still about 90 percent done with the franchise process,” he said. “We have hundreds, probably thousands of inquiries at this point. We are in no rush to do that.”
What’s 3 Pepper Burrito’s secret? O’Brien points to their house-made, hand-pressed tortillas and the freshness of other ingredients such as pico de gallo made with hand-chopped fresh vegetables. “We make our sauces in the kitchen,” he said.
In addition to burritos, the menu includes quesadillas, tacos, nachos, bowls and salads.
Their next restaurant is targeted to open in March in the space of a former GNC store in Shoppes of Grande Oak, 20321 Grande Oak Shoppes Blvd., Suite 304, Estero. The 1,400-square-foot unit is between Marsala Pizza and Bahia Bowls in the Publix-anchored center at the northeast corner of Ben Hill Griffin Parkway and Corkscrew Road.
“We’ve been looking at that area forever,” O’Brien said.
The North Naples location for 3 Pepper Burrito is coming soon to the former Motor City Coney Island Grill space near McAlister’s Deli and Epiphany Gluten Free Bakery in Creekside Corners, 1514 Immokalee Road. The 1,400-square-foot restaurant will have a back-door pickup area, O’Brien said.
“We are looking at the end of April,” he said.
The 10th location for 3 Burrito has been a long time coming on College Parkway in Fort Myers. It’s a corner unit next to Patinella’s Chicken Grill in College Plaza on the southeast corner of College Parkway and Winkler Road. Starbucks is moving from that 1,836-square-foot inline space to a new freestanding drive-thru a short distance away. The shell of the new coffee shop is under construction and is expected to be done by the end of this year, O’Brien said.