New Restaurant To Give Away Free Meals For A Year

Customers who have gotten a taste of Barberitos Southwestern Grille & Cantina at 650 Lincoln St. in Columbia may want to head to Lexington on Monday where the Athens, Ga.-based eatery will give away weekly meals for a year to the first 100 people in line at its new Saluda Pointe location at U.S. 378 and I-20.

“As far as I know we’ve never done this before,” said Mike Bolen, local franchise owner who, along with business partner Jim Vandenberg, owns franchise rights for Barberitos locations in the Midlands and Upstate.

Each of the first 100 guests to enter the restaurant when it opens at 11 a.m. Monday will receive will receive four punch cards offering one free meal for each week of the year. The cards may be used at both Lexington’s Saluda Pointe location and the Columbia location, which opened in September.

Bolen and Vandenberg plan to bring more Barberitos locations to the Midlands area soon.

“We’re going to have five or six stores in this market and we’re going to have a couple in Greenville as well,” said Bolen, who added the locations of the other Columbia eateries haven’t been determined.

Founded in 2000 by CEO Downing Barber, Barberitos has grown to 43 locations in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and the Carolinas. The eatery — best known for its chicken burritos and burrito bowls — has branded itself as serving only fresh ingredients with all marinades and salsas made in house.

The Lexington location at 105 Saluda Pointe Ct. marks the fourth in South Carolina. Stores also are located in Anderson and Charleston.