U.S. Taco Co.
Well, that didn’t take long. U.S. Taco Co., Taco Bell’s first fast-casual concept that combined unique (and expensive) tacos with a trendy, punk-rock feel, is already shutting its doors in Huntington Beach, California. The upscale taco shack opened its doors last summer, but despite generally positive Yelp reviews, it had difficulties attracting enough passersby and struggled to obtain a liquor license.
Critics said that that the kitschy menu items, which celebrated flavors from different regions across the country came across as gimmicky and patronizing. Consider tacos like The Brotherly Love which featured carne asada, grilled onions, and poblano queso (a twist on a Philly cheesesteak?), the Wanna get Lei’d (grilled mahi mahi topped with a mysterious “Polynesian sauce”) and the “1%er” (a lobster roll-taco mashup that cost $12).
But don’t think Taco Bell has given up quite yet.
“U.S. Taco Co. remains a fantastic concept, and was very successful as a place to experiment and learn,” Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol said. “From the food to the design, and the service experience and open kitchen layout, we’re incorporating that thinking into other future concepts.”
Plus, the similar-minded Taco Bell Cantina is opening in Chicago’s Wicker Park soon, and yes, this one will serve alcohol, specifically twisted freezes