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Wyckoff Family Opens National Franchise In North Jersey

Paul Sanford stands against the Wall of Flame in California Tortillas of Montvale.
Paul Sanford stands against the Wall of Flame in California Tortillas of Montvale. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

WYCKOFF, N.J. — It's not often that borough resident Paul Sanford experiences love at first bite.

The self-proclaimed foodie says he became so hooked on California Tortillas' fresh food and varied menu options the first time he tried them three years ago that he couldn't live without them.

Sanford opened the first of the North Jersey California Tortillas chain in Montvale this past January and is set to bring another to River Edge this month.

"It's not like Chipotle, where you point and grunt," said Sanford, who also works at a wine importing company across the street from his Chestnut Ridge Road eatery.

"Everything is fresh and made to order," he said. "There's not even a freezer on the premise."

The restaurant might be most well known for its "Wall of Flame," which is home to 75 different types of hot sauces ranked from 1 to 10 by heat levels.

Sanford distributed free cupcakes to honor California Tortillas celebrated its 20th anniversary as a national franchise last month but says he doesn't need a special occasion to give back to his customers.

"We want all of our customers to feel like family," said Sanford, who hosts weekly promotional events like Monday Night Burrito Wheel.

Sanford matched the price of chips and salsa to the temperature outside during last winter's cold spell.

"When it was 10 degrees, chips and salsa were 10 cents," he said. "I just try to make it a fun environment for everyone."

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