They say that when one door closes, a window opens. For those still mourning the loss of Wendy’s Frosty’s, late night Doritos Locos Tacos and pina coladas await behind a whole new door.
A Taco Bell Cantina is set to open on State Street this upcoming Dec. 15, likely bringing alcohol and cheap, late-night tacos with it.
In addition to their typical menu, which includes an assortment of burritos, tacos and nachos, the fast-food franchise will also attempt to also serve alcoholic beverages.
The new restaurant’s alcohol license is still under review and will be further examined by the Alcohol License Review Committee, a branch of the Madison city council.
ALRC committee member Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said Taco Bell’s alcohol license will be reviewed at an ALRC meeting Nov. 15.
Bell American Group, a Taco Bell franchisee that operates 275 locations, was in charge of deciding where the new Taco Bell would be located.
The Cantina address will be 534 State Street, which used to be the location of Wendy’s until it closed in March 2017. The building that now houses the James apartment buildings on West Gorham Street was also a potential location for the restaurant before State Street was considered, Verveer said.
Verveer said local Taco Bell franchisers wanted to get onto campus, so they thought the State Street location was an optimal spot, but businesses surrounding the site have other thoughts on the inception of the restaurant.
Danielle Weimer, employee at IT’SUGAR Madison and University of Wisconsin graduate, said there was a Taco Bell in the same location when she was in school, and it failed.
“It failed once, and I think it’ll fail again,” Weimer said.
Jade Jhocson, employee at Nogginz, expressed similar sentiment, but emphasized her concern with people, specifically their customers, consuming alcohol.
Jhocson thinks we don’t need more alcohol downtown. She said she is concerned people will come into Nogginz intoxicated if Taco Bell’s liquor license is granted.
“I’m excited to get cheap tacos, but allowing alcohol in Taco Bell will be annoying,” Jhocson said.
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Both Jhocson and Weimer also verbalized concerns about the homeless community congregating outside of Taco Bell.
In the past, Weimer said, there were lots of intoxicated, homeless crowds outside of Wendy’s. Weimer expects the outside of Taco Bell to be a similar environment.
The Madison city council will be formally discussing the Taco Bell Cantina Oct. 31.