- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 31, 2004

Political pollsters take note: California Tortilla’s burrito ballot has named John Kerry the next president of the United States.

The completely “scientific” and “accurate” poll, which began Oct. 1 and ended Oct. 28, pitted the presidential candidates against each other in the form of a burrito.

Rockville-based California Tortilla created two burritos with the help from each candidate’s camp.

The George Bush Hickory Chicken Burrito, was made with grilled chicken, black beans, horseradish mashed potatoes, Texas hickory sauce, salsa and lettuce in a flour tortilla. On the opposing side was the John Kerry Savory Chicken Burrito with grilled chicken, Mexican rice, Boston baked beans with caramelized brown sugar, lettuce, salsa and a splash of Heinz 57 in a large flour tortilla.

Each purchase of a burrito counted as a vote for that candidate. When the stores closed late Thursday night, the results were in: Mr. Bush received 1,738 votes, and Mr. Kerry received 1,868 votes.

As silly as a burrito ballot sounds, California Tortilla officials stand by their results.

The chain correctly predicted the outcome of the 2002 Maryland congressional and gubernatorial races based on the number of each candidate’s burritos sold.

Another “scientific” poll is still under way. Political pundits are sure to be watching closely the results of 7-Election, 7-Eleven’s coffee cup poll that ended yesterday. By press time, the final results were not tallied.

The convenient store chain gave java drinkers the chance to vote with the purchase of a 20-ounce coffee cup bearing their presidential pick.

As of last week, the two candidates were in a close race nationally with Mr. Bush receiving about 51 percent of the votes and Mr. Kerry with 49 percent of the vote. In the Washington area, Mr. Bush had nearly 57 percent of the vote and Mr. Kerry received about 43 percent.

During the last election, 7-Election’s national results gave Mr. Bush a slight edge over Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore.

In other, real news …

MaggieMoo’s International is trying to lick the competition with an aggressive expansion plan that will put 1,000 of its ice-cream eateries on the map by 2009. MaggieMoo’s has 140 locations open now.

Jon Jameson, who was hired as president and chief executive in December, says the Columbia, Md.-based company is on track to reach its goal. In the shorter term, MaggieMoo’s will have 100 more locations open next year.

There are 11 stores in the Washington area with an additional 18 locations under contract. In the next four years, the area will have more than 50 locations, Mr. Jameson said.

Retail rummage

• USA Discounters, a home-furnishings discounter, is moving into a 9,800-square-foot space in Hechinger Mall in Northeast. It is scheduled to open later this month. Bethesda’sJBG Rosenfeld Retail leases and manages the mall.

• Office Depot is the newest retailer at the Boulevard at the Capital Centre in Landover. The 18,000-square-foot store, which has about 25 full- and part-time employees, opened Oct. 21.

Donna De Marco can be reached at 202-636-4884. Retail & Hospitality runs every other Monday.

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