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OH: Taco Bell may add alcohol to central Ohio menus

OH: Taco Bell may add alcohol to central Ohio menus

CEO tells Bloomberg that test of beer, mixed drinks could be headed her


The Columbus Dispatch

By JD Malone

August 18, 2015

Something new could be coming to a Taco Bell in central Ohio: alcohol.


The Mexican chain has introduced the world to tacos wrapped in Doritos-flavored shells and to breakfast items served on a tortilla-like biscuit. Now it is testing beer and mixed drinks at locations in San Francisco and Chicago.


The company’s chief executive officer told Bloomberg last week that Columbus could be the next proving ground for Taco Bell’s alcohol offerings.


Taco Bell officials declined to comment on Monday.


The move is an evolution of the chain’s “urban” concept. A new restaurant near AT&T Park, the home of Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants, will sell wine and beer and offer a walk-up window, according to CEO Brian Niccol, who was interviewed by Bloomberg.


Niccol added that Taco Bell, a division of Yum Brands, is checking out Columbus, Boston and New York for expansion of the concept.


Taco Bell unveiled plans for its first urban unit earlier this year. That location is scheduled to open in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, according to Nation’s Restaurant News.


Niccol thinks there is an unexplored niche for smaller, walk-up restaurants in densely populated neighborhoods, according to comments he made to Bloomberg.


Donatos sells alcohol at a few locations in Columbus and is building a flagship store in the Short North that will be attached to a bar called the Black Brick. Chipotle and some other fast-casual restaurants offer alcohol as well.


Taco Bell plays in the larger, more family-friendly category of quick-service chains such as Wendy’s, Burger King and McDonald’s, none of which offers alcoholic beverages in mainstream U.S. stores.