Taco Bell is set to return to Ohio State by June. While the off-campus location will remain at its former 10th Avenue and High Street location, it will look nothing like the previous free-standing restaurant.
The location will reside under a new apartment building, Luxe Belle, currently in the process of being built by Preferred Living. The restaurant will have modern design aspects and an updated menu as part of the fast food chain’s recent expansion to a new cantina-style restaurant.
Matthew Arthur, the location’s franchisee, said the idea to redo the off-campus Taco Bell came after developers approached him wanting to buy the land and change it. Arthur and his family decided to reach out and find a partner to help develop the land to continue operation of the restaurant.
“It’s a little bit of a hybrid because we are borrowing some design elements of the cantina because it’s an in-line unit, it won’t have a drive-thru and it’s going to be over 3,000 square feet,”
While Taco Bell’s cantina restaurants have gained popularity for their addition of serving alcoholic drinks, this location will not do so.
“It’s the whole layer of operational complexity,” Arthur said on the reasoning behind the exemption of serving alcohol. “We’re currently trying to set up in a way that if we want to offer alcohol in the future, from a configuration standpoint, we will have have the ability to offer maybe limited beer and wine.”
Taco Bell Cantinas typically have interior designs customized to the surrounding area, as well as larger menus with items like shareable appetizers and alcoholic beverages, Jacob Duarte, a Taco Bell spokesman, said in an email.
“We’re trying to make this the newest and the best as you possibly can, so we’re going to have concrete floors in it with brick veneer walls with painted murals,” Arthur said. “It’s going to be kind of — for a Taco Bell standpoint — higher end; it’s going to look really nice and it’s going to have a huge dining room.”
Arthur also said the restaurant will have three kitchen lines in the back, making it easier for employees to cater to late-night crowds.
He said the new store could potentially have self-order kiosks as well.
Taco Bell first introduced cantina restaurants in Chicago in September 2016 and has made plans to open hundreds more across the country in the near future.