"In 1998 We Opened our first restaurant at Star Valley Ranch, Wyoming. We were invited in on a partnership with some family members who had a long history in Mexican Restaurants. We waited tables for 12 to 16 hours a day, making people’s dining experience memorable and for some reason we really enjoyed it. We decided to move a little closer to home and found a vacant building in Brigham City, Utah. With Alicia expecting our second child we began to remodel our dream."
"Against The Advice of several businessmen in the area we opened our first Utah restaurant on February 2, 1999, exactly one month after Samantha Isabel was born. Michael was 2 years old so it was hard to keep him entertained and out of the way while Alicia and I worked. The customers would hold Samantha and fuss over her until they would leave and then they would pass her to other customers. She would sleep in her car seat under the servers' table in the back. Those were some great times and I know there are a lot of you out there that probably remember them."
"Ruben Parra and my little sister Becca, nick-named Bella, started with us in Afton, Wyoming. Becca was only 14 at the time. Ruben is still our head cook and kitchen manager, and is now a brother-in-law. With the birth of our third child, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Antonio Jose, for some reason we decided it was time to open our 3rd restaurant. When I was a boy, my Father, Don Cottam, always talked about owning his own business along the freeway where his kids and grandkids could work. In 2002, we found a piece of property in Farr West and Dad’s Dream began to become a reality. Like most family businesses it was necessary to do most of the work ourselves. So, my brother Tom came down from Wyoming to help lead the construction. About that time, Alicia’s sister, Anita, joined us as a kitchen manager. You might remember her selling food out of the “mobile unit’ - as she like to call it - while our flagship restaurant was being built. Tom and Anita were also married in 2006. Many of you first started supporting us at that food trailer in the parking lot. Thank you!!"
"In April 2003 with a new face and new menu, we opened our Farr West location which instantly became a community Favorite. Tom went from construction manager to kitchen manager, Anita moved from the trailer, sorry - 'mobile unit' - into managing the kitchen as well. My sister Maree began managing the front of the restaurant, the servers, bussers, and hostess staff. Terri and Becca took over the office, as well as our extraordinary servers."
"Our Family and Business suffered the loss of our daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend and girlfriend in January of 2005. Becca June (Bella) Cottam finished her mission on this earth as a result of a tragic car accident. Since that time we have tried to immortalize her fun loving energetic spirit in the business by printing her name on the menu, engraving it in wood and cement and starting a scholarship fund in her name. We started looking at even renaming the Restaurants after her but hesitated because of costs. But that hesitation became a heartfelt determination!"
"Many Years Later, Dad and Mom have 4 kids and 7 grandkids working at the restaurant, while another 2 kids and half a dozen grandkids have worked here before moving on. Oh, and Dad and Mom are here every day as well. At the beginning of 2008 we decided it was time for that name change we had been talking about. Although it took a while, we finally incorporated the name 'Bella’s Fresh Mexican Grill' to honor Becca. Bella was Becca’s nickname and it appropriately fits her as it means ‘beautiful’ in Spanish. We continue to be most grateful for all your support. We enjoy serving our community. Thanks so much for being with us for so long. If not for all of you and our wonderful family, we definitely wouldn’t be here today. Both of our Parents were always there and still are showing us the way even in their 'Retirement Years'. Thank you for making us your favorite restaurant and we look forward to seeing much more of you in the near future. The dream is alive!"
LIVE WELL - LAUGH OFTEN - LOVE MUCH - EAT GOOD!!
Joe, Alicia and the entire Cottam Family :o)