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Obbligato guests enjoy fresh tortilla factory

Date Posted: 2008-04-18

Fresh tortillas are the perfect start to a Mexican meal, and Mark Esparza has turned their making into an entertaining production.

Obbligato Mexican food restaurants are more than just an eatery, as tortillas are handmade and baked in a tortilla oven imported from Arizona. Customers at the Obbligato’s Midorimachi restaurant by Camp Courtney watch as chefs make the exquisite, fresh flour tortillas in front of their eyes. The tortilla factory is operational Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 2 p.m. ~ 8 p.m.

Esparza, who owns Obbligato restaurants in Chatan and Yomitan, near Torii Station, in addition to Obbligato Midorimachi, prides himself on using superior grade flour, shortening, sugar, salt, and baking powder to make the tasty tortillas. Tortillas are normally expensive and use additives, but Esparza has captured pure freshness, cranking out up to 1,000 tortillas an hour. The freshly made tortillas are hustled off to the Chatan and Yomitan restaurants, where dozens of customers feast on them.

Obbligato is expanding its menu later this year adding corn flour tortillas to the mix, as Esparza says they go better with tacos and chips. Noting how expensive tortillas have become, Esparza says producing them himself assures quality. He plans to sell tortillas from the counter and provide wholesale for other restaurants. Sizes will range from the 6” soft taco size to the 12” burrito size.

Esparza learned the tortilla arts through flour and corn tortilla courses at the American Institute of Baking in Manhattan, Kansas. His open invitation to customers is to come and try the expanding menu, which will further grow to include wraps with shrimp, fish, and sour cream this summer. Obbligato pizza, quesadilla and chimichanga menus will also be expanded.

Obbligato Mexican Restaurants are open seven days a week, 11 a.m. ~ 11 p.m. at both Midorimachi and Chatan. The Yomitan branch is open 10 a.m. ~ 10 p.m. Reservations are available at Midorimachi, (098) 972-4220, Chatan, (098) 926-1888, and Yomitan, (098) 956-7420. Menu information is also available at Obbligato’s website, http://obbligato.co.jp.

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