Mexican restaurant won't open until after holidays
Nov 16, 2012 (Menafn - The Brownsville Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --A section off Expressway 77 in Brownsville could soon be serving up some new eateries, including a Taco Tote and a Logan's Roadhouse.
However, Taco Tote will arrive too late to cash in on holiday shoppers' appetites -- at least that's the view of Evaristo Gamez, permitting director for the city of Brownsville. He says the new El Taco Tote Mexican Grill under construction between Cheddar's and Motel 6 on U.S. 77/83 Expressway Frontage Road was issued its construction permit in May, but work continues on the 7,316-square-foot restaurant.
"Taco Tote, they should have finished a long time ago," he said. "Usually a building of this size shouldn't take more than six months, weather permitting."
The permits are good for a year from the date of issuance. Brownsville-based Ziwa Corporation is the contractor.
Taco Tote's U.S. corporate headquarters in El Paso did not respond to requests for information about the project. Ziwa Corporation spokesman David Fabian cited an initial contract-related delay, but said construction has "picked up speed" and should be complete by late December or early January. Fabian identified the franchisee/developer as a Mexican national from Monterrey.
The Taco Tote chain got its start in Mexico but expanded to the United States and now has numerous franchises in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. The "fast-casual" dining concept emphasizes authentic Mexican food. "Tote" is Spanish for "huge" and, indeed, the company touts its oversized tacos.
Taco Tote's target market is communities with large Mexican and Mexican-American populations. In addition to El Paso, the Texas locations are in Houston, Laredo and San Antonio. The first Taco Tote opened in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in 1988. Today, the company has several locations in Mexico in addition to its growing U.S. presence, while the first U.S. location opened in Laredo in 1994.
It isn't the first time the restaurant chain has tried its luck in Brownsville. Ten years ago, a Taco Tote opened in a former Applebee's at 2960 Boca Chica Blvd., though the franchise was short lived. New Wave International Buffet occupies the building today.
LOGAN'S ROADHOUSE MAKES PLANS
More restaurant activity is happening along the same stretch of Frontage Road north of F.M. 802. Between Motel 6 and the Brownsville Convention and Visitors Bureau/Brownsville Information Center is a Shoney's restaurant whose days are numbered, according to the city. The structure is slated to be demolished and replaced by a Logan's Roadhouse, Gamez said.
Logan's, headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., opened its first restaurant in Lexington, Ken., in 1991 and today has over 180-company-operated locations and 26 franchise stores in 23 states. Logan's is known for steaks, burgers, ribs and seafood.
The company's plans call for parking to accommodate 125 cars, 55 more spaces than required, Gamez noted. The oversized lot will require realignment of the east end of Melinda Street, which connects Frontage Road and Old Highway 77.
Logan is footing the bill for the realignment, according to assistant city engineer Doro Garcia, who said the realignment will also require permission from TxDOT since it involves the frontage road. Garcia didn't know when the demolition and realignment would commence, saying it's very early in the process.
As of Thursday, Shoney's was still open for business and advertising Thanksgiving dinner on its marquee.
"We'll get notified," Garcia said. "They have to get through permitting. It's barely in preliminary."
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