JD and Sarah Gardner founded the Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill concept in 2003 in Layton, Utah. The chain is fast casual, and nearly all food is fresh made, including handmade guacamole and tortillas. They have coined the term Baja-style for burritos and tacos made with a few simple, fresh ingredients meant to evoke the spirit of healthy eating and living. Made-to-order sweet pork, chipotle chicken and shredded beef also stand out. A gluten-free menu is available. Classically trained corporate chef Geoff Alter oversees menu development. Flat-screen televisions show surfing videos, and surfboards hang from the ceiling, adding to the celebration of outdoors and the beach. In 2011 Abundant Brands merged its Bajio Mexican Grill chain into Costa Vida, ultimately becoming a franchisee, rebranding its 16 units. Costa Vida Management Co. operates company-owned stores and oversees franchising, with stores now in 10 US states and Canada.

LocationLehi, Utah
2012 Systemwide Sales$32,000,000*
% Change in Sales17.7%
2012 U.S. Units47
2012 Average Unit Volume$975,000*
% Change in AUV1.6%
Future 50 Year2013