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Reborn Fast Food Icon Naugles Promises 1,000 New Locations

Or that’s the plan anyway, says a new franchise deal

An old Naugles location
My Antelope Valley
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.

Reborn fast food legend Naugles has big, big plans moving forward, as a new franchising agreement could put the once-popular spot back on the map.

The Orange County Register has been keeping track of all things Naugles since day one, and reports now that owner Christian Ziebarth — himself a former fast food writer who won a lawsuit battle to take back the Naugles brand from Del Taco — wants to expand in a very big way. To make that happen, Ziebarth and company have teamed up with Fransmart, the well-funded folks who have brought on the precipitous rise of The Halal Guys across America, and also backed Five Guys over the years.

That should certainly bring Naugles back into the public eye, as the Naugles brand has witnessed little more than a localized groundswell up until this point. They’ve most recently been operating out of a beachside shack in Huntington Beach after an explosive opening at what was basically a test kitchen facility in Fountain Valley last year, but that space near the water will also be closing shortly now that the summer has come and gone.

So in the immediate sense, Naugles will be non-operational without their Fountain Valley space (which Ziebarth will be bringing back online soon). But at a more macro level, the plan is to have 100 physical locations out in the world within the next half-decade, if franchising agreements can be figured out with various partners. Ziebarth tells the Register that "this is our best route to be able to reach [displaced fans] in a timely manner."

When all is said and done, the hope is for Naugles to return to prowess with around 1,000 total locations. That would be incredible for a company that went extinct decades ago, and would rival the likes of places like Chipotle and former overlord Del Taco. Whether or not that number actually comes to fruition remains to be seen, of course, but (for now) it’s certainly an interesting though experiment.