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Wauwatosa panel approves Qdoba for Village site

Feb. 12, 2013

A Qdoba restaurant is expected to open in mid-June in the retail center at 1417 Wauwatosa Ave., said Abby Lutgen of Roaring Fork, LLC, which owns the franchises in Wisconsin.

Qdoba will occupy the vacant space next to Starbucks, she said.

"I think it's a perfect location. There's obviously a lot of condos and a lot of other things in that area. There's people living there, and other businesses there for a reason," she said.

The new business will create 20 to 30 jobs, she said, "depending on the volume of the location, the hours and other things. If it's a late-night location, we'll have more employees."

About a third of the jobs will be full time, including cooks and management, she said.

The Plan Commission approved a conditional-use permit for the restaurant this week, after considering concerns about parking. The lot for the retail center is often full, with vehicles coming and going frequently. Mayor Kathy Ehley and commissioner Jody Lowe suggested the applicant, represented by Steve Broyer, who appeared for The Redmond Co., which will remodel the space, use the large public lot across Wauwatosa Avenue to ease congestion.

Ehley suggested Qdoba should work with the Village Business Improvement District to seek parking solutions.

Commissioner Gloria Stearns said the Little Caesars franchise that formerly was housed in the center produced a lot of litter that was left in the parking lot.

"We will have adequate trash receptacles," Broyer said. In any case, most Qdoba customers eat in the restaurant, he asserted.

Broyer said the peak hours of service are lunch time, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and that the store would have some outside seating.

Roaring Fork will be opening 15 new locations in its territory, including Wisconsin, northern Illinois and eastern Iowa, Lutgen said.

"We've actually developed a training team that goes to all of our new sites and helps to hire new employees and train them, and then goes on to the next location, so that we are able to bring in new jobs and new management and things like that," she said.

The space will be remodeled, and remodeling of existing stores is ongoing as corporate standards are updated, she said.

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