Durham County

Is Durham hip enough for a new Taco Bell cantina? Time will tell.

Taco Bell is bringing a new cantina concept to the new restaurant locations it plans to open during the next five years.
Taco Bell is bringing a new cantina concept to the new restaurant locations it plans to open during the next five years. AP

We’ll know we’ve arrived as a metropolitan hotspot when Taco Bell finally brings sangria to Durham and the Triangle.

Food & Wine magazine reports that the Tex-Mex fast-food chain soon will be offering beer, wine, sangria and twisted freezes, a.k.a. slushies with tequila, rum, or vodka at new locations.

The company recently announced a major expansion during the next five years, opening more than 300 locations across the country in mostly urban locations. Right now there are three Taco Bells in Durham but none in downtown. No word on when the new beverage choices will be available here.

Yum! Brands, the parent company of Taco Bell, is trying to attract younger, hipper patrons with its new mixed-drink menu.

“One of the cool things happening in America right now is the revitalization of urban areas, and we’re seeing millennials moving into downtown areas,” Taco Bell CEO Mike Grams said in the report.

Taco Bell has about 6,000 restaurants nationwide, but the new expansion will focus on its urban footprint. They’re calling the new locations cantinas. The one downside for the new taco stands is that they won’t have drive-thru windows. But who drives in the city anyway?

The company has test stores in Chicago, San Francisco and Las Vegas. The Vegas store is in the heart of “The Strip.”

Detroit, Pittsburgh, Nashville and New York are next in line to get them, according to the report. They want to put 60 in Manhattan, up from the six that are currently there and more than the 50 which they already have in New York City.

Can Durham be far behind?

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6678, @JEJ_HSNews

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