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Pascack Valley Daily Voice serves Emerson, Hillsdale, Montvale, Park Ridge, River Vale, Washington Township, Westwood & Woodcliff Lake

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Montvale Restauranteur Experiences Love At First Bite

A California Tortilla customer pauses for a photograph.
A California Tortilla customer pauses for a photograph. Photo Credit: Instagram (randanskie)
Paul Sanford stands against the Wall of Flame in California Tortillas' Montvale store.
Paul Sanford stands against the Wall of Flame in California Tortillas' Montvale store. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

MONTVALE, N.J. — It's not often that Wyckoff resident Paul Sanford experiences love at first bite.

The self-styled foodie says he was instantly hooked on California Tortillas' fresh food and varied menu options three years ago -- so hooked that he couldn't live without them.

Sanford opened the first of the North Jersey California Tortillas chain in Montvale last winter and is set to bring another to River Edge mid-January.

"It's not like Chipotle, where you point and grunt," said Sanford, who also works at a wine importing company across the street from his Chestnut Ridge Road eatery in Montvale.

"Everything is fresh and made to order," he said. "There's not even a freezer on the premise."

The restaurant might be most well known for its "Wall of Flame," which is home to 75 different types of hot sauces ranked from one to 10 by heat levels.

Sanford distributed free cupcakes in honor of his restaurant's 20th national anniversary but says he doesn't need a special occasion to give back to his customers.

"We want all of our customers to feel like family," said Sanford, who holds weekly promotional events such as Monday Night Burrito Wheel.

Sanford matched the price of chips and salsa to the temperature outside during last winter's cold spell.

"When it was 10 degrees, chips and salsa were 10 cents," he said. "I just try to make it a fun environment for everyone."

California Tortilla will be located at New Bridge Landing Plaza.

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