STEVENSVILLE — Fresh from Cozumel, Mexico, Crazy King Burrito is ready to make its Michigan debut.
Taco John’s on Red Arrow Highway in Lincoln Township has closed its doors, but the Mexican-based burrito chain will take its place this September.
David Schuck, a St. Joseph resident, has visited Cozumel annually with his wife, staying for six weeks at a time. There, they met the founders and became friends.
Founded by Jaime and Haidee Gonzalez in 2012, the pair wanted to expand into the United States. Schuck became a partner and the franchise owner for North America.
“I’m a franchisee of my own franchise,” Schuck said.
They have two other locations, the original in Cozumel and the first American franchise in Fairborn, Ohio, which opened a few weeks ago.
Schuck decided to open the new location at 4107 Red Arrow Highway, roughly a month prior, beginning work a week and a half ago.
Crazy King Burritos isn’t like a Chipotle or a Qdoba, Schuck said.
“We aren’t like our competitors which is an assembly line ...” Schuck said. “We actually have recipes.”
Because fewer people cook now, Schuck said people don’t know what flavors work well together, making their choices at the choose-for-yourself chains disappointing.
“The taste isn’t as robust as something that’s designed to be put together,” Schuck said.
Adapting traditional Mexican recipes to American ingredients proved difficult, sometimes impossible. Schuck said they’re delivering ingredients from Mexico to get these recipes just right. They take pride in their menu items, Schuck said.
“We had to find what they used in Mexico,” he said. “Because it is a winning recipe. They do a very good business.”
He pointed to the Cozumel location’s high ranking on Trip Advisor. The Cozumel restaurant is ranked first among nearly 500 restaurants in the Mexican city.
Several American UPS drivers who had been to Crazy King Burrito had expressed joy to Schuck that American locations were coming, Schuck said.
He said he hopes to open in the third or fourth week of September, but supply chain issues and labor shortages may make it difficult.
Paul Guatam was the owner of Taco John’s. He said the unpredictable post-pandemic economy made it difficult to maintain a restaurant, particularly labor shortages.
“The employment situation is pretty tough,” Gautam said.