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Turns Out That Upscale Taco Bell Concept Didn't Go Over Well

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U.S. Taco Co. is closing today.

Inside U.S. Taco Co., Huntington Beach
Inside U.S. Taco Co., Huntington Beach
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

So much for that upscale Taco Bell concept in Huntington Beach, CA. Today Nation’s Restaurant News is reporting that U.S. Taco Co., with its something-for-everybody sensibility and (in some cases) $10 taco price tag, will be shutting down today.

Apparently the rethought option never took hold with the locals, despite a wave of interest at the outset. Sporting a new non-Taco Bell vibe and with plans for booze, it seemed at first that the place would help drag the erstwhile pseudo-Mexican fast food franchise out of the last century and into this one, but that ultimately never came to pass. Apparently the "urban taproom" never even managed to secure permanent rights to an alcohol permit.

Calling it a "fantastic concept," Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol remained open to bringing the idea back in some other location. But with fried chicken tacos and gourmet lobster options, it’s going to take a very specific audience. Or, maybe don’t open up in a place that already has a wealth of fantastic Mexican food available.

Of course, adding beer to the menu is a good idea just about anywhere, as Taco Bell has seen with its recent Wicker Park location in Chicago. There, the reconstructed Taco Bell has moved into a classier space complete with brick walls and an open kitchen, while sporting a menu that includes alcohol and shared plates. If that concept catches on, look for it to be replicated across the U.S. — maybe even in Huntington Beach.

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