Taco Bell Abruptly Closes Its Upscale ‘American-Inspired’ Taco Restaurant

ustacoLast year, Taco Bell opened a new restaurant in southern California called U.S. Taco. It promised “American-inspired” tacos, whatever that means, and alcoholic milkshakes, which are definitely American. The first test restaurant opened in Huntington Beach, California, last summer, but was never able to secure an alcohol permit or very many customers. It abruptly closed yesterday.

That’s kind of weird, because with the announcement that the chain would expand their fast-casual “Cantina” restaurants, Consumerist actually asked a Taco Bell representative about their future plans for U.S. Taco. They said that there was nothing to report, and they would let us know when there would be. Closing the only restaurant in a planned mini-chain should count as news, right?

This may not be the end of U.S. Taco, though. The Huntington Beach location was never able to get an alcohol permit, which may have kept it from fast-casual greatness. The company hasn’t ruled out opening more U.S. Taco outlets elsewhere, but being unable to serve craft beer and booze shakes in their Orange County location really hurt that vision.

“U.S. Taco Co. remains a fantastic concept, and was very successful as a place to experiment and learn,” the company’s head enchilada, Brian Niccol, told the Orange County Register. That concept included tacos drawing inspiration from American regional cuisines, like lobster rolls and brisket.

U.S. Taco closes: Taco Bell shutters experimental upscale eatery in Huntington Beach [Orange County Register]

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