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Taco Bell's Greatest Idea Yet — Selling Booze — Is in Boston's Future

A "completely new urban" outpost of the chain will liquor up Chicago later this year. And then...Boston?

The existing Taco Bell in Saugus
The existing Taco Bell in Saugus
Yelp

Taco Bell doesn't kid itself. The fast-food chain apparently knows that it's best enjoyed not entirely sober. And it also knows that that fact appeals to Bostonians.

The chain is making moves to bring alcohol to a "completely new urban restaurant design" concept it has in the works in Chicago. Yesterday, Bloomberg News reported a boozy Taco Bell with a walkup window is headed for San Francisco, and the company's top exec named Boston as a desired market, too.

"We’re underpenetrated in urban markets," CEO Brian Niccol said. "It’s where you have that density, and frankly where people aren’t in cars."

Taco Bell previously said the Chicago concept would open sometime this summer. When it does, it will offer Dos Equis and New Belgium Brewing Co.’s Fat Tire beer, red sangria, and liquor including Don Julio tequila and Ketel One vodka, Bloomberg reported.

Not all city restaurants will get booze. In addition to Boston, Niccol specifically mentioned that New York and Columbus, Ohio are target markets.

Offering booze is a way for the chain to compete with other fast-casual concepts, like Chipotle, Potbelly, and Panera. New restaurants featuring the urban design will also have shareable snacks like rolled chicken tacos and nachos, Bloomberg noted.

Currently, Taco Bell has (dry) locations at the CambridgeSide Galleria as well as in Everett, West Roxbury, Revere, Quincy, Woburn, and beyond.


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