Taco John’s, which brought the world Potato Olés and claims to be the inventor of Taco Tuesday, is coming to Southeast Michigan. A franchise location operated by Meritage Hospitality Group is set to open on October 23, at 424 North Telegraph Road in Monroe — about 40 miles south of Detroit.
The Cheyenne, Wyoming-based chain with nearly 400 locations throughout much of the Midwest and West across 23 states already has three spots in the Grand Rapids area. The hospitality group is looking to hire 30 to 40 employees for the Monroe location. Meritage Hospitality Group Inc., based in Grand Rapids, operates 380 restaurants in 16 states and, according to its website, is one of the world's largest franchisees of Wendy’s restaurants.
“We are honored to have the opportunity to introduce such an iconic brand to new markets in the Midwest, and to serve our customers with quality ingredients and items prepared daily,” said Meritage Hospitality Group President Gary Rose in a written statement issued Monday, October 16. “We can’t wait to bring the Monroe community an explosion of flavor, and to get a taste of Taco John’s iconic menu at an incredible value at their new, neighborhood store.”
According to a 2021 article in QSR Magazine, Meritage entered a development agreement to build 50 new Taco John’s restaurants in Michigan and Ohio by March 31, 2026. The deal includes the option to develop another 150 stores.
Taco John’s was founded in 1969 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and is one of the top three fast-food taco chains in America, mostly concentrated in Upper Midwest states like Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Illinois, and in the west, including Colorado, Idaho, and Washington. The chain has carved out its middle America-friendly identity with specialties like Potato Olés, tater tots dusted in spices that can be dipped into nacho cheese, sour cream, guacamole, or salsa. The company also secured its place in American Mexican food history for claiming to have invented the term Taco Tuesday, a trademark that the chain has defended over the decades by issuing cease-and-desist letters to numerous bars and restaurants that have also used the term. Last summer, following a public rumble with Taco Bell, Taco John’s gave up its famous trademark.