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Michigan’s First Taco Bell Cantina Is Destined for Royal Oak [Updated]

Gorditas and adult slushies all under one roof

Taco Bell Cantina in Las Vegas
Amelinda B Lee via Eater Vegas
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Michigan’s very first Taco Bell Cantina is on its way to Royal Oak. The national chain’s boozy, fast-casual concept is slated to fill the the shuttered Cold Stone Creamery at 420 S Main St., according to the Detroit Free Press.

Hiring ads for the forthcoming location appeared on Craigslist earlier this week along with storefront signage calling for workers to, “Come be a part of the Taco Bell Team to make history in Michigan! We are looking for team members to open the first Taco Bell Cantina in Royal Oak!”

The restaurant will be operated by Southeast Michigan franchisee Dortch Enterprises, which also operates a number of quick-service chain restaurants in the area including Subway. In its Craigslist posting, Dortch describes the restaurant as being similar in format to the Taco Bell Cantina in Las Vegas.

Taco Bell Cantina’s are generally geared towards more urban environments with high-volume foot traffic rather than drive-thrus, but they’re best known for serving alcohol including boozy slushy-style Twisted Freezes in such flavors as “Mountain Dew Baja Blast,” “Cantina Punch,” and “Cantina Margarita.” The restaurants also serve beer, wine, sangria, and an upgraded “tapas-style menu” with items like chili cheese nachos and rolled tacos.

It’s still unclear when Royal Oak’s Cantina will open or whether it too will hold a liquor license. Eater has reached out for more details.

The exterior of the Taco Bell Cantina in Las Vegas.
Amelinda B. Lee for Eater Vegas

Taco Bell introduced its first Cantina location in Chicago in 2015 and has since expanded to numerous cities including San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles. The new Taco Bell restaurant format is only expected to become more prevalent. In May the company announced plans to open 300 Cantinas in the U.S. by 2022.

Update, August 29, 9:33 a.m.: In an email Dortch Enterprises president Louis Dortch Jr. confirms to Eater that the Royal Oak Taco Bell Cantina intends to pursue a liquor license, but due to the lengthy application process the restaurant will open without alcohol. Construction on the location is expected to begin “shortly.”

Taco Bell to Serve Alcohol at New Royal Oak Location [Freep]
*New* Taco Bell Cantina! Hiring Team Members!! [Craigslist]
Taco Bell Plans to Open More Boozy Cantinas [E]
All The Chains Coverage [ED]