Chevys Fresh Mex is a chain of casual dining restaurants serving Mexican-inspired cuisine. The chain was founded in 1986 by Warren Simmons, Sr. and Warren "Scooter" Simmons, Jr., when they opened their first restaurant in Alameda, California. It grew to 37 restaurants across California by August 1993, when it was acquired by PepsiCo subsidiary Taco Bell. When PepsiCo decided to exit the restaurant business in 1997, Chevys was sold to the investment group J. W. Childs Equity Partners. By 2004 and led by executive chef Peter Serantoni, it had grown to 114 restaurants in 16 states, and claimed to be the largest independent Mexican restaurant operator in the United States. In January 2005, Chevys and Fuzio Universal Pasta were acquired by Real Mex Restaurants, Inc., the Long Beach parent company of El Torito Restaurants and Acapulco Mexican Restaurants, making it the largest operator of full-service, Mexican restaurants in the U.S.
Chevys' marketing is based around their "Fresh Mex Pledge," in which they promise that everything they serve is made fresh daily. This is emphasized by having a tortilla making machine, called El Machino, visible in the dining area on which tortillas are made fresh for customers ordering fajitas and similar dishes. The chain also claims to use no canned food in its kitchens.
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