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Baja Fresh coming back to Phoenix area; 2 restaurants to open before fall

PHOENIX — Five years after packing up and leaving town, quick-serve Tex-Mex food chain Baja Fresh will be returning to metro Phoenix.

Scottsdale-based parent group Kahala Brands planned to open spots in Phoenix and Chandler before the end of summer, the company said in an email Monday.

The Phoenix restaurant will be located at 16th Street and Camelback Road; the Chandler restaurant will be at Ray and Rural roads.

Three more were expected to open next year.

“Bringing Baja Fresh back to the Phoenix market has been a goal for Kahala Brands ever since we acquired the company in 2016,” Tim Koch, vice president of restaurant operations for Baja Fresh, said in a statement.

The chain closed all five Valley restaurants without notice in 2013, leaving only one in the state, in Prescott Valley.

A company Facebook post dated April 16 of that year read the “independent franchise owner/operator in the Phoenix market made the decision to discontinue operations late last week.”

The post finished expressing the desire to return “to the Phoenix area at some point in the future.”

Re-entry into the Valley took time but, Koch said in the statement, “The amazing fan base” helped drive the push.

“The amount of messages we receive daily about wanting Baja Fresh back in the Valley is astonishing,” he said.