A new fast-casual Mexican restaurant is headed for downtown Spartanburg.
Greenville businessman Hugo Montanez has leased the 1,800-square-foot space that formerly housed McClellan’s Urban Eatery/Pierre’s at 253 Magnolia St., where he plans to open his concept Burrito Hub by late spring or early summer.
Montanez said the restaurant is inspired by his heritage and newfound admiration of the “Hub City.” His modern take on authentic Mexican fare aims to give diners delicious, affordable dishes featuring innovative flavors and fresh ingredients.
“I’m really excited about it,” said Montanez, 37, who was born in Mexico City and grew up in Cancun. “We are going to do some things here that no one else is doing. Downtown Spartanburg is growing, and I am very happy to be a part of it.”
Montanez said he is still finalizing his menu, but he anticipates offering a range of options through a few basic components, including tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and salads.
“I’m planning on having avocado rice, rice with cilantro and lime,” he said. “The focus will be on freshness and authenticity. We’re not going to have a very big cooler or freezer.”
Montanez described it as “kind of like Chipotle, but with a hipster twist.”
He said he plans to do some renovation of the building and will create several jobs. Montanez said the restaurant will have a contemporary, industrial feel.
“I’m so excited for Hugo,” said Ryan Robertson, a restaurant specialist with SVN Blackstream who represented Montanez in the lease transaction.
“I really think he’s going to bring some energy to that corridor between VCOM [The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Carolinas Campus], the city’s north side, and downtown,” said Robertson, who lives in Greenville, but is originally from Spartanburg. “It’s in close proximity to Wofford College, the Spartanburg Marriott, and a range of law offices surrounding the existing courthouse. I think it’s a great win for Spartanburg.”
Spartanburg businessman Sander Morrison owns the building that will house Burrito Hub. Morrison also owns the old Magnolia St. Pub building next door.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have Hugo here,” said Tim Satterfield, vice president and broker-in-charge of Coldwell Banker Commercial Caine in Spartanburg, who represented Morrison in the transaction. “He has a great concept that is going to be unlike anything we have in downtown. We welcome him to Spartanburg.”
Montanez is the youngest of five children, including three brothers and one sister. He said his family helped shape his culinary skills.
“I had the benefit of learning from them — the good and the bad,” he said.
In 2005, Montanez moved to Pittsburgh, where he co-owned and operated a traditional Mexican restaurant, Las Velas, with his eldest brother, David Montanez.
It was at Las Velas where he met his wife, Antonietta Badra, who is originally from Venezuela.
The couple decided about one year ago to move to Greenville after their friends, who had relocated to the area a few years earlier, told them how much they loved the Upstate.
While pursuing his dream of opening his own venture, Montanez has served as the general manager at Stone Pizza Co.
He said he considered sites in Greenville, but those deals never materialized and he ultimately chose Spartanburg.
“I believe things happen for a reason,” Montanez said. “There is still room for growth here in Spartanburg. That’s what I really like about it. There’s a lot of energy.”
Montanez said he isn’t counting his chickens just yet, but he hopes to open more locations in the near future.