By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jul 10, 2017 at 4:01 PM

Milwaukee-based Roaring Fork Restaurant Group will celebrate a milestone on Thursday, July 13 as it opens its 50th Qdoba Mexican Eats franchise location in Wisconsin

The new restaurant, located at 5347 U.S. Hwy 10, in Stevens Point, comes on the heels of the opening of Milwaukee's newest East Side location at 1348 E. Brady St., bringing its total Qdoba franchise count to 55 locations throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa.

In celebration of this Wisconsin milestone, the group is offering customers a free order of chips and queso with a purchase at any Qdoba Wisconsin location on Tuesday, July 18.

Roaring Fork, which is owned by Greendale native and UW-Milwaukee alum Michael Pranke, boasts more than 1,000 employees and – despite downward industry trends – has seen a 57 percent growth rate in just the last five years.

Local growth includes the new Qdoba location at 1348 E. Brady St. in April, as well its new, fast-casual restaurant concept Grate Mac & Cheese, which is slated to open in Menomonee Falls later this summer.

The group opened its first Qdoba location at 3101 N. Oakland Ave. in April of 1998. At that time, it was only the 14th location nationwide. That same year, Roaring Fork began to expand into Madison with a location on State Street, not far from the State Capitol. By 1999, they'd established four restaurants in the area, adding Milwaukee Qdoba locations in West Allis and Wauwatosa. And from there, growth continued, first to the Fox Valley and subsequently Central Wisconsin.

To date, Wisconsin’s Qdoba locations are spread mostly throughout southeastern Wisconsin and the Fox Valley and greater Madison areas, with locations in La Crosse, Wausau and now Stevens Point.

In addition to the Brady Street, Milwaukee and Stevens Point locations, Roaring Fork will continue to focus its expansion efforts on Wisconsin, with additional locations slated for Johnson Creek and Mukwonago in the coming years.

"Growth is in our DNA," notes Ron Stokes, President and Chief Operating Officer at Roaring Fork. "And our continual commitment to growth and to the Qdoba brand has had a compounding effect. We are continuing to look at additional sites throughout the state so that we can continue to grow the brand and create more jobs through the openings of those locations. We’ve been growth oriented from the beginning, and we will continue to be growth oriented as we look towards the future."

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.