THRILLIST: Mexican Chains That Could Be The Next Chipotle
August 12, 2016
GA Followers: 7 Best Places for Cheese Dip in Atlanta
June 6, 2016
The Current Hub: Yes, Willy's is Real, Good Mexican Food
BizBash: 10 Things to Know About Hosting Food Trucks at Your Event
January 19, 2016
Atlanta Dish: Roll into Willy's Mexicana Grill for "Willy Good" Burritos, Tacos, Salads and More
April 2, 2016
The Marietta Daily Journal: Mexicana grill celebrates 20 years with new menu
April 20, 2015
INsite: Best of Atlanta 2014 Winners
November 7, 2014
Atlanta’s original burrito chain. Willy’s award winning California-style burritos keep the concept of freshness true. Their rice and beans are cooked daily using no lard or animal products. Willy’s restaurants are vegetarian friendly offering grilled tofu and veggie burritos. Order a Willy’s truck to come to your event by calling their Catering Hotline.Collapse Full Review
Creative Loafing Food Issue: Fast Casual R Us
October 14, 2014
Buckhead Reporter: Quick Bites: News you can eat
October 3, 2014
Adventurous Tastes: Willy's Mexicana New Design & Offerings
September 8, 2014
CBS46: Willy's Celebrating 20 Years of Burritos in Atlanta
September 2, 2014
AJC Living: Menus change to fit the customers' needs
August 27, 2014
AJC: From the menu of...
August 20, 2014
Atlanta Food & Beverage Magazine: WMG Delivers Fresh Mex to N.Druid HIlls
July 21, 2014
Restaurant Informer: Willy's Mexicana Grill Delivers Fresh Mex to North Druid Hills
July 18, 2014
The North Druid Hills location offers a new look for Willy’s. This new look still embodies the original culture and traits of the brand, but it is an updated, richer version of the old design. In keeping with the original look, the new design uses a lot of bright colors—yellow accent striped walls, blue booth seating, and red and yellow tile walls in the kitchen— and also maintains the rustic, warm atmosphere with wood plank walls and patina metal tables and trims throughout the restaurant. The 2,800-square-foot space includes Willy’s Salsa Bar, which is the central focus of the North Druid Hills location. The salsa bar is larger to allow for new kinds of salsa, like the new HOT Roasted Tomato Salsa. At the end of the serving line is the Salsa Prep Bar. This is the “Fresh Zone” that puts fresh preparation of salsa and guacamole on display for health conscious patrons.
Willy’s showcases its housemade tortillas on a new Rotomal Tortilla Grill, which rotates and grills the tortillas that hold the Mexican-inspired ingredients in burritos and soft tacos. The tortillas are made with freshly prepared dough mixed throughout the day. An additional enhancement to Willy’s beverage offerings is the homemade horchata, a cinnamon cream-based drink, and flavored and regular lemonades made from fresh squeezed lemons.
The Atlanta-based independent restaurant serves made-to-order, California-style burritos in a laid-back atmosphere. Freezers and microwaves are noticeably absent from the kitchen, guacamole and salsa are made twice a day and the restaurant uses local, seasonal products when available. Every menu item is prepared from scratch. Beans and rice are cooked without lard or animal products, making them vegetarian-friendly as well.Collapse Full Review
Tomorrow's News Today: Willy's Celebrate Lease of 25th Location
July 14, 2014
What Now Atlanta: Willy's Mexicana Grill Piedmont Park to Reopen June 27
Restaurant Informer: Willy's Opens in Cherokee Plaza, Brookhaven
March 16, 2014
A few updates at the 3,562-square-foot restaurant in Cherokee Plaza include freshly made tortillas with a new tortilla grill and an enhanced beverage program with a drink bar featuring new housemade specialty lemonades, flavored iced teas and horchata. Along with these new additions, the Brookhaven restaurant is debuting a new look. The simplified and cleaner design
still offers the familiar warm and colorful accents with vibrant patterned tiles and oversized, blue raised booths, while adding new elements like wood paneling, yellow color block walls and fun canvas graphics.
The Atlanta-based restaurant serves made-to-order, California-style burritos in a laid-back atmosphere. Willy’s is known for preparing every menu item from scratch, using high quality produce and meats. Signature stuffed burritos, fully loaded nachos, tasty tacos and crisp salads
are all fresh-to-order, allowing guests to choose from over 20 fresh, flavorful toppings to customize their meals. Vegetarian options include marinated tofu and veggie burritos, tacos
and quesadillas. Beans and rice are cooked without lard or animal products, making them vegetarian friendly as well. For dessert, Willy’s serves a variety of King of Pops, including Willy’s
exclusive Cinnamon Churro flavor that tastes just like the Spanish doughnut in popsicle form.
TRIP ADVISOR REVIEW “Our favorite Atlanta lunch spot”
December 31, 2013
INsite ATLANTA: Best of Atlanta 2013 - Best Burrito Willy's Mexicana Grill:
BUCKHEAD PATCH: Garcia Named President at Willy's Mexicana Grill
September 18, 2013
RESTAURANTINFORMER.COM: Willy’s Names Juan C. Garcia as President
September 18, 2013
MARIE, LET'S EAT! Blogger Review 9/11/13
September 11, 2013
ATLANTA FOODIES Blogger Review
September 10, 2013
BELLA VIVERE Blogger Review Willy's Mexicana Grill (Sandy Springs)
ATHENS PATCH: ‘LOVE AT FIRST BITE’: Couple Wins Willy's Contest, Gets Engaged
August 13, 2013
THE GEORGIA BULLETIN: Young artist wins $1,000 for St. Joseph School and she gets free burritos for a month
SUNBELT FOOD SERVICE: St. Joseph’s Catholic School Wins Willy's T-Shirt Design Contest
May 16, 2013
BUCKHEAD PATCH - Willy's T-Shirt Contest wins $1000 for young winner's school
April 23, 2013
TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY ATLANTA: Willy's Mexicana Grill Keeps Rollin' Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'
April 19, 2013
BUCKHEAD PATCH: Willy's Helps Wheelchair Athletes in Shepherd Shoot-out:
November 19, 2012
INsite ATLANTA: Best of Atlanta 2012 - Best Burrito Willy's Mexicana Grill:
October 30, 2012
INsite GAINESVILLE - Cover Feature
Sept 10, 2012
COBB IN FOCUS MAGAZINE: Curbside Cuisine
September 1, 2012
11ALIVE.COM: Willy's opens in Ponce redevelopment
March 7, 2012
THE INDEPENDENT FLORIDA ALLIGATOR: Fresh Mexican food is simply the way Willy's does it
February 9, 2012
ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE: Council approves $3B Atlanta airport concessions package
January 4, 2012
ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE: Willy's opening 1st Florida store
June 24, 2011
AJC: First franchise Willy's Mexicana Grill to open in Gainesville, Fl.
June 14, 2011
AJC: Up close: 'We are really community-driven'
May 28, 2011
ATLANTA INTOWN PAPER: Willy Bitter: The Brains Behind the Super Burrito
SUNBELT FOOD SERVICE: On the Cutting Edge with Willy Bitter
In July 1995, Willy Bitter opened the first Willy’s Mexicana Grill in Atlanta, specializing in big “California-Style” stuffed burritos, tacos, quesadillas and made-from-scratch sauces and a selection of Mexican beers. His simple but fresh food concept has been a success for the fast-casual format. This year Bitter opened his 15th restaurant in the metro Atlanta area and has a growing catering operation. See our story, inside.
BITTER SPICES UP FRESH, FAST, MEXICAN FOOD
As a child, Willy Bitter set his sights on becoming a marine biologist. But, as so often happens, his path changed, and the Asheville, N.C., native obtained a degree in economics from the University of North Carolina. Following a stint living, working and sampling authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex food in San Francisco, Bitter returned to the South with one thing on his mind. But it wasn’t economics or marine biology — it was burritos!
In July 1995, Bitter opened the first Willy’s Mexicana Grill in Atlanta, specializing in big “California-Style” stuffed burritos, along with tacos, quesadillas and made-from-scratch sauces, guacamole and a selection of Mexican beers. Once word of Willy’s got out, customers flocked to the simple but fresh concept where orders were customized to the diner’s preferences. The ambiance also was inviting — designed with warm colors and the look of “a funky, colorful burrito joint,” according to Bitter. In 2005, he opened his 15th restaurant in the metro Atlanta area. There’s also a kiosk in an office building in Midtown Atlanta as well as a growing catering operation.
Bitter, 39, recently spoke with Senior Staff Writer Mindy McBain about Willy’s Mexicana Grill and its success in the Atlanta market.
What is the primary focus of Willy’s Mexicana Grill?
It’s mainly a focus on fresh ingredients. We make everything in the restaurant; we make our guacamole twice a day; we make our salsa every day. I guess “California,” equating that with fresh, is what we’re trying to do.
You opened in ’95, yet fast-casual didn’t really take off until about three years ago. Were you ahead of the curve?
I’d been out to California, I had seen how popular it was out there, and there was nothing really like that in this area. I figured as along as I can get good food out there and get a good location, people will come. Everybody knows our burritos, but they can customize them exactly the way they want, and they get a huge amount of food for a great price. I knew that people liked good food at a good price, and they like it quick.Collapse Full Review
AJC City Life Business: PROFILE: Burrito lover launched Willy's
January 29, 2004
Willy’s Mexicana Grill was created out of the owner’s love for California-style burritos. Customers loved them, too, and the chain has grown to 12 locations. Two more restaurants will open soon.
The business, with headquarters at 5600 Roswell Road, was created by Willy Bitter, who co-owns it with Keith Norris.
“I lived in San Francisco, and they had great burritos,” Bitter said. “I got addicted to them, so when I couldn’t find here what I wanted, I opened my own.”
Bitter said his California-style burritos weigh more than a pound, with rice, beans, meat or marinated tofu, cheese, fresh salsa, sour cream and lettuce rolled up in a 12-inch tortilla shell.
Willy’s locations include Midtown, Buckhead, Vinings, Peachtree Center, Norcross, Marietta, Decatur and the Mall of Georgia. Stores will open soon near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and on Barrett Parkway in Cobb County.
Menu items include burritos, tacos, quesadillas, nachos, salads, and rice and beans with no animal products.
Bitter, an Asheville, N.C., native, said he has a passion for Mexican food and has taken cooking classes in Mexico. “We try to bring the real, authentic product,” he said. “We buy produce fresh daily, make everything for that day, and run out and do it all over again the next day.”
Bitter said when he opened the first Willy’s at 4377 Roswell Road, there were only about three other independent burrito restaurants in metro Atlanta. After three years, he opened the Vinings location.
“It’s one of those things where we’ve been fortunate,” he said. “We’re a locally owned chain, and I’m out in the restaurants all the time, tasting the food and making sure everything is good.”
Vegetarian and children’s menus are available. “We also offer burritos in a bowl with no carbs,” he said. “We make everything in front of you, so you can customize your order.”
Catering for large groups and corporate affairs is available, as are corporate deliveries downtown.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily at most locations. The Peachtree Center location serves breakfast burritos 7:30-10:30 a.m. Mondays through Fridays.
The Web site, which includes all locations and phone numbers, is www.willys.com.Collapse Full Review
KNIFE & FORK: Willy's Mexicana Grill
AJC Restaurant Recommendations
June 23, 2001
AJC Fall dining guide: JOHN KESSLER'S TOP 50 RESTAURANTS
October 13, 2000
Here are John Kessler’s picks for the metro area’s top 50 restaurants, listed alphabetically, not by ranking. The numbers correspond to where they are located on the map. Mini-reviews of each follow. 1. Antica Posta
4. Atlanta Fish Market
8. Brasserie Le Coze
9. CK’s Grilled Pizza
11. Corky’s Ribs & BBQ
12. Dai Loi
13. Dick & Harry’s
14. The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead
15. 88 Tofu House
17. Floataway Cafe
18. Hae Woon Dae
20. Horseradish Grill
21. Killer Creek Chop House
22. La Grotta
23. La Tavola
24. Little Szechuan
26. Mumbo Jumbo
29. Nuevo Laredo Cantina
30. Oh . . . Maria!
31. Pano’s & Paul’s
32. Pasta da Pulcinella
34. Royal China
37. Sotto Sotto
38. Soto Japanese Restaurant
39. Sushi Avenue
40. Swallow at the Hollow
42. Taqueria del Sol
43. Thai Chili
45. Thumbs Up Diner
46. Udipi Cafe
47. The Vortex (2 locations)
49. Willy’s Mexicana (5 locations)
50. ZocaloCollapse Full Review