Culture

Taco Bell to Transform Over 300 Locations into Boozy Cantinas

(Image via Taco Bell)

Did you know that there is a special Taco Bell Cantina restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada? It is notable because it is right on the Las Vegas Strip, has a gift shop stocked with branded swag, it’s open 24/7, and they serve alcoholic beverages alongside the popular Tex-Mex food they are known for. Taco Bell is looking to launch 300 to 350 Cantina locations nationwide, so there might be one opening near you!

Ten Taco Bell Cantinas are slated to be opened by the end of 2017, and expect to see them pop up in major cities such as Detroit, Boston, Cincinnati, and up to 50 locations in New York City by 2022. Although about 50-70 percent of a Taco Bell revenue comes in via the drive-thru, these new Cantina locations will be dine-in only.

Cantina patrons will be able to wash down their burritos, tacos, and nachos with wine, beer (including at least one local beer), margaritas, and “Twisted Freezes,” a combo of a frozen drink and your choice of rum, vodka, or tequila.

My favorite by far is the Mountain Dew Baja Blast Freezie, and apparently, I’m not the only one. Freezie fans inspired Mike Grams, Taco Bell COO, to sell alcohol-infused beverages because many customers were already buying the sweet slush drinks as mixers.

“People would come through on drive-thru and say, ‘could you please leave a little off the top,’ and we’d know exactly what they meant,” Grams said.

Taco Bell has made a name for themselves over the past few years by being innovative with their food, including their Doritos Locos Taco, Cheetos Burrito, and their latest creation, the Naked Egg Taco, which features a fried egg “taco shell.” It’s worked out for them so far, so perhaps these new Cantina restaurants are the next logical step in the franchise’s evolution.