After scouting the local market for more than five years, Baton Rouge-based Izzo’s Illegal Burrito has finally settled on a location for its first Lafayette restaurant. The “fast-casual” chain, which specializes in oversized burritos, already has plans for additional expansion in the Lafayette area. “We would like to open at least three,” says Ozzie Fernandez, who co-owns the company with Gary Kovacs.

Izzo’s entered the Baton Rouge restaurant scene in 2001, opening its first location at the gates of LSU. Its appeal to college students helped drive the choice of location in Lafayette, Fernandez says. The Lafayette restaurant is opening at 2008 Johnston St. on the left end-cap of the Interior Fabric Shoppe building. “It’s a great fit to be close to campus,” he says.

Izzo’s now has three Baton Rouge locations; the fourth store is opening on Veterans Boulevard in Metairie March 17 and the fifth on Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles this May — both owned by different franchisees. The Lafayette Izzo’s, slated to open by July, is a corporate store.

Izzo's also offers quesadillas, tacos, nachos and burritos in a bowl — what are known to most of us as salads. The low-cost, fast-casual concept means customers place and pick up their orders at the counter, with a wide selection of fresh ingredients right in front of them. Izzo's pledges that lard, animal fat, MSG and preservatives are "illegal in our recipes."

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