Costa Vida was founded in Layton, Utah, in 2003 by husband and wife team JD and Sarah Gardner. After a trip to the coast of Baja Mexico, the pair wanted to keep both the feeling, as well as the flavor, of warm beaches and Mexican cuisine. The couple opened their first restaurant in Leyton, Utah.
Today, the company operates a chain of franchises across the US. There are currently 50 locations, but a company spokesperson has stated that there are 217 scheduled to be opened in the next 5 years. Two franchisees, Sean Collins and Dave Rutter, liked the restaurant so much that they purchased the company in 2004. The company opened their first international location, in Alberta, Canada, in 2016. The company currently offers only multi-franchise operations, meaning that a person needs to be willing to take on 3 franchise locations, or more.
Each location makes tortillas from scratch, as well as their seasoned pork and beef dishes, which are slow cooked for several hours before serving.