Perhaps somewhat motivated out of self-interest, Carlos Fernandez looked to fill a need in Newton.
Fernandez works at Clutch Studio (a software development company in Wichita). Coming home to Newton after a long day's work, he said he is often left with just a couple of options to choose from if he wants something to eat late at night.
The craving for more late-night dining variety led Fernandez to open Kiko's — a fast casual burrito company — in north Newton (1728 N. Main), with the takeout restaurant officially opening its doors this past week.
"We're an in-between time, fast casual company. I just feel like there wasn't anything in town that could supply the demand for the in-between hours, whether it was extremely late or at a time where you've already had everything else and you don't know what else to get," Fernandez said. "I guess I'm selfish; I really just wanted to have a carne asada burrito one night."
As an entrepreneur, if there is a need that has gone unmet, Fernandez admitted he can be spurred to action. With some family history in the restaurant business (with Kiko's being named after his grandfather), opening a fast casual burrito company seemed to make sense.
Initially, Fernandez said the focus will remain on burritos and Kiko's signature meat (carne asada) as the business looks to establish its niche in the Newton community.
"Kiko's is your carne asada specialist. We're a burrito company with signature sauces, high quality meats and a creative approach to Mexican-American street munchies," Fernandez said. "We're going to have a limited menu because we really, truly want to master the art of the carne asada burrito."
Other menu items offered initially include carne asada fries and tacos, while speciality variations of both the fries and burritos are prepared with hot Cheetos. Signatures sauces include Kiko's sauce (a sour cream/avocado blend) and a special queso made with a variety of spices.
Fernandez noted there are plans to change the menu seasonally, with tamales potentially being one of the first additions in December. Additionally, many of the ingredients — i.e. signature Mexican spices — used to make Kiko's signature dishes will be sold in an "abarrote" (mini-market) established within the business space.
Hours for Kiko's are currently 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, but Fernandez hopes to expand into that late-night market at some point in the near future. Additionally, Kiko's will eventually offer delivery to the Newton area through a mobile app.
Expansion is on Fernandez's mind, but initially he just wants to stay true to the business' roots — offering a quality product to a (late-night) customer base in need.
"Our goal is to fill that need. Our goal is just to make sure we can provide the best quality service, the most flavorful burritos in town, but also to fill the need of that gap that's been there for a while," Fernandez said. "I think that speaks volumes to what we're trying to do. We really just want to make sure we concentrate on making sure the food that comes out is consistent and quality."