Taco Bell has applied for a liquor license for a unit soon to open in Chicago, the company confirmed Thursday.
A spokesman for the Irvine, Calif.-based chain declined to offer details on what that may mean for the beverage menu, but he said the unit will have a completely new urban restaurant design in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood.
The spokesman confirmed that the permit was for Taco Bell, not the fast-casual offshoot U.S. Taco Co., which launched last year in Huntington Beach, Calif., and intends to serve alcohol, including milkshakes spiked with beer.
Earlier this year, Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol said the 6,500-unit chain will look to grow with smaller, in-line urban units, with roughly half the footprint of a traditional 3,000-square-foot restaurant — and no drive thru.
The first of the in-line urban-design locations was scheduled to open this spring by a franchise operator in Chicago.
“It’ll be everything you love about Taco Bell, but customized for the urban community,” Niccol said.
A number of fast-casual Mexican operators offer beer, wine or agave-based margaritas, including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Rubio’s and Lime Fresh Mexican Grill.
Twitter reactions to the news indicate that the offer of alcohol at Taco Bell would be a welcome addition.