Wednesday, March 1, 2023

[EXCLUSIVE] Florida Taco Joint Scores Sites for Atlanta Expansion

A Florida-based taco joint is pushing forward with an Atlanta expansion.  Capital Tacos, which got its start in the Tampa Bay community of Land O' Lakes in 2013, has secured sites for its first three locations in the greater Atlanta area.  The chain is currently only in Florida, and Atlanta will be one of the chain's first expansion markets.  

According to its website, Capital Tacos prides itself on "Tacos Done Right" and offers a menu not only of assorted tacos but also "monster quesadillas," "crazy fries," "epic nachos," burritos, bowls and even fajitas like the "Andre 3001: Fajita chicken & sizzlin’ bacon tossed in Texican BBQ sauce, with chihuahua cheese, corn salsa, and chipotle BBQ sauce." 

Slated to open later this spring are locations in Peachtree Corners and Johns Creek, followed by a third unit later this fall in Newnan.  Capital Tacos launched their franchising program in early 2022 but a source close to the Atlanta leases tells ToNeTo Atlanta that all three of the initial locations will be corporately owned.  This is likely a strategic move given that the chain entered the Atlanta market in 2022 via a partnership with ghost kitchen operator CloudKitchens, but it closed just a few months later.  The "Digital Kitchen" was located at 800 Forrest Street in West Midtown.    

Yelp and Google reviews were largely negative, which could reflect the limited control the brand had over the location and their desire to open corporate units that provide them a better opportunity to make a good impression on a new market.  

In Peachtree Corners, Capital Tacos is opening in Village at Peachtree Corners (5270 Peachtree Parkway), where the taco joint will occupy a 2,400 square foot space near Flying Biscuit Cafe in the Lidl-anchored center.  The Johns Creek location will open in Johns Creek Festival (11160 Medlock Bridge Road) where the taco joint will backfill a 2,145 square foot former Tin Drum Asian Kitchen.  The small strip center is also home to Tropical Smoothie Cafe and Sage Dental.  Moe's Southwest Grill occupies a space in nearby Johns Creek Promenade.   

The Peachtree Corners and Johns Creek locations are slated to open in the spring with a Google page suggesting the Johns Creek outpost could open as soon as March 24.  

It's unclear where exactly the Newnan location will be and the restaurant has thus far not responded to our request for confirmation.  A real estate source with knowledge of the chain's Atlanta plans says the Newnan location is to open this coming fall.  

The fledgling chain currently operates six traditional units in Florida, an express unit in Florida and an "express trailer" also in Florida.  A pair of additional locations are on tap for Florida as is the chain's entry into a third market with an outpost in Charlotte.  (The chain closed two locations in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2020.)  

The company said in early 2022 that its partnership with CloudKitchens, a virtual restaurant company, was to have allowed the brand to establish and build its presence in Orlando, Atlanta, Miami, Nashville, and Charlotte "over the course of the next few calendar quarters."  While the partnership seems to have not yielded the results it had hoped for, Capital seems to be following a similar expansion route with the aforementioned locations planned for Atlanta and Charlotte.  

Capital Tacos is the latest taco joint to expand into metro Atlanta. Chronic Tacos opened in both Chamblee and Alpharetta in 2018 but only the Alpharetta unit remains open.  Chando's Tacos also had plans for a pair of locations but while its eatery along Peachtree Road in Buckhead is open, a unit planned for West Ponce de Leon Avenue in Decatur started renovations months ago but never opened and has been removed from the Chando's website.  

ToNeTo Atlanta reported February 21 that Rusty Taco, a chain previously owned by Atlanta-based Inspire Brands, is opening an outpost in Decatur in addition to their previously announced location in Summerhill.  

Torchy's Tacos, a Texas favorite, was scouting Atlanta in early 2020 but paused those plans as the pandemic took its toll on restaurants later in 2020.  Real estate sources tell ToNeTo Atlanta that the chain is once again looking at sites in metro Atlanta.  

Have you ever been to Capital Tacos?  What is your favorite taco joint in metro Atlanta?  Where else would you like to see Capital Tacos open in town?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

willy's and moe's dominate. outsiders never do well with the exception of chipotle.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see a new taco restaurant open in the area. Interesting comments about using a ghost kitchen to prep the food.

CloseOTP said...

@Anon @ 5:49AM - This is absolutely nothing like Willys/Moes/Chipotle...

Jonathan said...

tex-mex, by way of tampa? the authenticity just drips off that - Peachtree Corners and John's Creek are perfect for them, I'll pass

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