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Burrito Boarder accused of defaulting on 2011 small-business loan

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Burrito Boarder, a St. Petersburg-based chain of “extreme” Tex-Mex restaurants, is being accused of defaulting on a 2011 small-business loan which the company’s founders personally guaranteed payment.

In 2008, Lisa and Giorgio Bertrand opened the first Burrito Boarder restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg at 17 3rd St. North, which is still in operation. The eatery’s corporate owner was (at one time) listed as Burrito Boarder Group LLC, formed in 2008 by manager Lisa Marie Bertrand, but was dissolved by the state of Florida in 2013 after failing to file its annual report.

Burrito Boarder’s corporate offices are at 2220 34th St. S in St. Petersburg.

In 2011, Burrito Boarder opened a second outlet in Carrollwood, which has since closed. Burrito Boarder’s website says there is also a location in Tallahassee. That year, Burrito Boarder Group obtained a small-business loan for $287,300, with both Lisa and Giorgio Bertrand personally guaranteeing repayment.

A lawsuit, filed by Regions Bank Jan. 19 in Pinellas County Circuit Court, claims Burrito Boarder defaulted on the loan the following year.

Regions is seeking repayment of $237,392 in principal, plus interest and late fees.

It is not the first time the Bertrands drew local attention.

In 2005, the Tampa Bay Times highlighted the couples “eye-catching” Pasadena Yacht & Country Club waterfront home, saying the couple also operate CiCi’s restaurant franchises. The home, originally a basic Cape Cod style, was remodeled into a sleek, modern “two-story wall of powder-coated aluminum [which] pours down the front of the house like a waterfall.”

Court records show the Bertrand’s lost the house in 2014 through a foreclosure to Regions Bank, as successor to AmSouth Bank.

Complicating matters is that Giorgio Bertrand, a native of Argentina, was killed in a 2015 boating accident in the Virgin Islands, where two people died and two were injured after the inflatable center-console boat allegedly struck a rock.

According to the St. Thomas Source, the couple and their children had been living in the Virgin Islands since 2013. There, they owned an establishment called Dinghy’s Bar and Restaurant.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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