TASTE

The First Alcohol-Serving Taco Bell Opens In Chicago, With More On The Way

05/15/2015 01:24 pm ET | Updated Sep 16, 2015
Taco Bell

Alcohol has never been hard to find at Taco Bell, at least during the Mexican fast food chain's signature Fourthmeal period late at night. It courses through patrons' veins! Now, though, one Taco Bell in Chicago is making the presence of alcohol official by putting it on the menu... and hiring a bouncer to quash any late-night alcohol antics.

Taco Bell Cantina, aka the first Taco Bell outpost in the world to serve alcohol, is celebrating its soft opening on Tuesday. The location will officially open next week, on Sept. 22.

The menu features tapas-style "appetizers" like rolled chicken tacos and mini quesadillas, USA Today reports. Drinks include beer, wine and sangria, along with Cantina Punch and Cantina Margarita freezes, which customers can spike with rum, vodka or tequila.

Another Taco Bell Cantina will open in San Francisco later this month, and Taco Bell hopes to open eight more over the course of the year, the L.A. Times reports.

Looks like things are about to get wild.

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This move by Taco Bell follows experiments in alcohol by other fast food chains, including Sonic, Burger King and Shake Shack. Even Starbucks has started to get serious about its alcohol service, having announced its intention to bring its newish Evenings menu to thousands of locations across the country.

You don't exactly have to be a restaurant industry expert to understand why: Alcohol is extremely profitable. Non-chain restaurants in most places have long relied on booze sales for the bulk of their profits. Only chains that promote themselves explicitly to families with young children (and Taco Bell is not one of them) could fail to be intrigued by the margins inherent to alcoholic drinks.

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