Taco Bell Cantina Opens on Balboa Peninsula

As we announced on Feb 1 of this year after the Original Pizza Going Away Party, a new Taco Bell Cantina is opening this week in the location of the old Original Pizza, between Stag Bar and Balboa Blvd.  The location will serve beer and wine– and later hard alcohol– along with standard Taco Bell staples, including their new 20-item dollar menu and new, location-specific tapas-style appetizers.

When it was originally announced, there were 4 other Taco Bell Cantinas launched in the US, with one folding– so launching more seemed to be a bit of a gamble at first.  However, in their drive to create a whopping 300 of these style establishments throughout select US markets, the currently scheduled Cantinas are currently at #11, with other openings publicly scheduled for Manhattan, Brooklyn, Chicago, Boulder, and Madison.

With their first store opening in Chicago just two years ago in 2015, Taco Bell Cantinas are unique in that they carter more to sit-down customers as none have “drive-thru” windows– however, in the Newport location, the take-out window will remain.

Their 32-seat dining area (14-person bar capacity) and ability to handle much more with standing room will be open from 7am to 2am, 7 days per week.

This location will be the first to sell Taco Bell-Branded beer (“Beach Bell”), as they have partnered up with Huntington Beach’s  “Four Sons Brewing”.  This beer will be a Mexican-style amber lager that is supposed to “enhance” the flavor of the establishment’s food orders.  But if you want to nab yourself a “Beach Bell” brew, hurry on down, because the stock is limited and the brew will only be available while supplies last.

A soft opening is happening until Friday, with the official opening beginning Saturday, December 16th.

After the McDonalds on Balboa closed suddenly back in 2015, there have been just a few national fast-food places on the peninsula, including Subway and Slap Fish.  It will be interesting to check out this new location and see how it performs with the hearts and minds of local Balboa residents, who will be the ultimate dictators of whether or not this location succeeds– however the limited supply of food alone at 2am on the peninsula should do wonders for the joint.

What do you think of the new concept and location?




About Mike Glenn

Mike is the founder and publisher of Save Newport, owner of the software company Devion, the VP of Newport Beach's Republican Assembly, Chair of Government Relations for the Elks Lodge, an outspoken taxpayer advocate, and a sworn alternate voter for the Orange County GOP. He writes, shoots photos, and edits, but much of the time, he's just "the IT guy". He can be reached at: Google+, Facebook, or via email, at michael.glenn@devion.com