Monday, January 22, 2018

[ALERT] California's Chronic Tacos is Coming to Atlanta

Aliso Viejo, California-based Chronic Tacos is opening at least two new locations in metro Atlanta in the coming months.  The two confirmed locations are in Alpharetta and Chamblee and will bring the chain to about 50 units nationwide.  The chain also operates three locations in Canada.

In Alpharetta, Chronic Tacos will open in place of the short-lived Tom + Chee eatery in Stone Walk, off North Point Drive, near North Point Mall.  Tom + Chee, the "shark" invested grilled cheese & tomato soup franchise, closed in the center last February after two years in business.  According to a recently created Facebook page for the Alpharetta location, Chronic Tacos is "Now taking pre-orders for catering beginning February 19th!"   The restaurant, owned by franchisee James Smith, is to open February 12.  CT Southern LLC, Smith's franchise company, also has plans for a second location in Midtown.  

The Chamblee location, which is not yet listed on the Chronic Tacos website, will be located in the new Parkview on Peachtree development.  Parkview is a mixed use development featuring a mix of restaurant, retail and service businesses as well as hundreds of apartments.  In Parkview, Chronic Tacos will join the recently opened Bad Daddy's Burger Bar, as well the soon to open Poke Bar and Chef Jared Huck's "The Alden." The Chamblee location of Chronic Tacos will reportedly be operated by a different franchisee than the Alpharetta restaurant. 

ToNeTo Atlanta has seen but not eaten at a Chronic Tacos. Judging from the menu, the restaurant seems to be a hybrid of a Pure Taqueria and Willy's, an interesting combination in such a competitive market.  
"Menu items include traditional Mexican dishes such as tacos, burritos, quesadillas as well as tostada bowls and salads, including a breakfast menu all day. Customers can choose from vegetarian and gluten-free options, as well as carne asada (steak), pollo asado (chicken), carnitas (slow-cooked pork) and al pastor (spicy marinated pork). Seafood lovers can also order grilled, beer-battered or baja-style fish and shrimp."

Started in 2002, Chronic Tacos is most prevalent in its home state of California where it has 31 restaurants open and three more coming soon.  The chain has more recently expanded in the south with locations in Alabama, Florida and North Carolina. 

In Alabama, a location in Orange Beach opened in 2016, which was followed by one in Vestavia Hills, a suburb of Birmingham, in 2017.  In Florida, Chronic Tacos opened in Fort Myers and Tampa Bay last year.  In North Carolina, then 22-year old Sean O'Neill "partnered" with his parents to open three Chronic Tacos in 2016 in Chapel Hill, and followed up with locations in Raleigh and Wake Forest in 2017.  

Metro Atlanta has been a difficult market for out-of-town Mexican chains to penetrate.  Barbacoa Mexican Grill, Pancheros Mexican Grill and Mojo Burrito all closed in metro Atlanta after unsuccessful single locations.  National brands Baja Fresh Mexican Grill and Qdoba Mexican Eats have also both struggled locally, having both left the market, only to return years later with fewer locations.  

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, then owned by Ruby Tuesday, opened three locations in metro Atlanta in 2012, only to close all three a year later.  

Salsarita's Fresh Mexican Grill opened in a former Uncle Maddio's Pizza in Alpharetta in 2015, while Blue Coast Burrito opened in a former Rising Roll in Atlanta this past December.  It's highly unlikely that either concept will find long term success in metro Atlanta.  

Atlanta-born mega chain Moe's Southwest Grill, local favorite Willy's Mexicana Grill, national chain Chipotle Mexican Grill and cult favorite Bell Street Burrito, simply control too much of the local market for new-to-market chains to make a name for themselves.  

Have you ever been to Chronic Tacos?  Do you think Chronic Tacos will find success in metro Atlanta?  What is your favorite quick serve Mexican chain in Atlanta?

Please share your thoughts below  


Anonymous said...

Do we know where the Midtown location will be located?

Anonymous said...

The Chamblee location will have a chronic amount of competition:

Blue Top
Del Taco
the BP gas station
Big Daddys tacos
and the 19 mexican places on PIB

Hope it does well though

Anonymous said...

Where is there a Del Taco near Chamblee?

Anonymous said...

Tacqueria del sol not del taco sorry..

fbenario said...

When next in Athens or Augusta you might try Diablo's Southwest Grill, a growing local franchise with unique burrito offerings, like ghost pepper cheese and peach habanero sauce.

Anonymous said...

I am from the west coast and will tell you Chronic Taco is a laid back fast casual taco spot...just simple good food and drinks... not a sit-down place like marlows or pure... more laid back with a bucket of beer and cali mex food while catching the game.. they usually have 3-4 tv's on. has been on mtv, west coast customs and a bunch of other things.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @8:57 am - Taqueria del Sol is in the Whole Foods shopping center.

Anonymous said...

Chronic Tacos is also listed as opening at the new Peachtree Corners Town Center.

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