Jul 29, 2022 - Food and Drink

Capital Tacos expands to 5 more cities in the South

Photos of tacos, a storefront, and the interior of a restaurant.

Photos courtesy of Capital Tacos

Two men who have grown Capital Tacos from a single Tex-Mex storefront in Land O' Lakes to five regional restaurants are expanding the chain again, to five more cities in the South, and hoping that Tampa Bay's reputation as a launching pad for successful food chains holds.

What's happening: Months after announcing franchise opportunities, Capital Tacos is partnering with CloudKitchens to start selling from-scratch tacos in Orlando, Miami, Atlanta, Nashville, and Charlotte.

Josh Luger, co-owner and operator partner, tells Axios that they've deliberately built a quality "fast casual, plus" brand in Tampa Bay over a decade and demand is strong.

  • The notion they're banking on is that customers will wait a little longer and pay a little more for homemade Tex-Mex that's better than good β€” and they'll appreciate a menu that's often inspired by and unique to the market.
  • For instance: The Florida Man taco, with fried gator, sold out the day it debuted in Wesley Chapel.

Yes, but: They want to scale up at the right pace, without cutting corners and losing quality.

  • "We've had paths to grow a lot faster," Luger tells Axios. "But the best way to ruin it is to grow too fast."

Flashback: So many now-ubiquitous restaurants got their start in Tampa Bay β€” from Hooters to Bonefish Grill to Outback Steakhouse β€” that the region has long been known as fertile soil for growing national chains.

  • But many with ambition to grow have sputtered out.

What they're saying: "It's never about moving as fast as possible," Luger said. "We want to get better as we grow."


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