Boozy Taco Bell spices up Old Town

Boozy Taco Bell spices up Old Town
Taco Bell Cantina opened at 417 King St. on Dec. 20. (Photo Credit: Cody Mello-Klein)

By Missy Schrott |

Crunchwrap connoisseurs and frozen marg fanatics, rejoice – Old Town’s boozy Taco Bell is finally open.

After almost a year of anticipation, the new Taco Bell Cantina opened at 417 King St. on Dec. 20, serving up all of the Taco Bell fan favorites plus new shareable items. The hallmark of the Cantina menu, though, is its beer, wine and alcoholic Twisted Freezes. 

While there had been rumors circulating about whether the restaurant would have its liquor license by the time it opened, a Taco Bell spokesperson confirmed that the license has been approved. 

Taco Bell first introduced its “elevated urban experience” in late 2015, according to a press release. Since then, Taco Bell has opened more than 30 fast-casual restaurants in urban spaces across the United States, 19 Cantinas – whose menus include alcohol – and 16 Urban In-line restaurants. The brand’s goal is to design each restaurant experience so that it represents the local community around it, according to the release.

The new urban concepts mark a shift in the Taco Bell brand, as it has been historically focused on suburban locations with drive-thrus. Not having a drive-thru is one commonality across Cantina restaurants, in addition to featuring open kitchen concepts. The brand plans to continue its expansion into urban and downtown neighborhoods with the goal of opening nearly 50 more urban restaurants in 2019, according to the release.

The Alexandria Cantina has 72 total seats, 52 indoor and 20 outdoor, according to its special use permit application. It will operate from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, with outdoor dining ending at 11 p.m. The outdoor limit was added when the proposal went before city council in March, after residents expressed concerns about noise.