Photo: Todd Gill, Flyer Staff
still haven’t been able to confirm or discredit (Update: It’s now confirmed) that there’s a Taco Bell-related concept in the works for the former Common Grounds building at 412 W. Dickson St., but something happened over the weekend that lends some credence to those reports.
The Taco Bell restaurant located closest to Dickson Street in Fayetteville closed its doors on Sunday.
Signs posted on the store’s windows, located at 1772 N. College Ave., indicated that the restaurant would close for good at 10 p.m. Sunday, May 15.
Exterior branding and the pole sign outside the restaurant were removed on Monday, and a “For Lease” sign was placed in front of the building.
“We would like to thank you for your business over the years and look forward to serving you at our other locations in Fayetteville: Crossover, Joyce, Mall, Weddington (sic), MLK, and throughout Northwest Arkansas,” the signs stated.
The signs did not indicate whether the store was being relocated, but we received reports last week that employees of the restaurant had told customers in the drive-thru that they expected to soon move to Dickson Street and that the new store would serve alcohol. One employee told us he expects to pick up shifts at that location.
Sources have been telling us for weeks that a Yum! Brands concept is set to open in the former Common Grounds building on Dickson Street. The Louisville-based company owns Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, and other restaurant chains. We reached out to the company’s media relations department though multiple channels weeks ago, but still haven’t received any response.
A man working to clear the patio outside the building told us he believed the space would soon be home to a Taco Bell Cantina, the brand’s new concept for urban locations with a tapas-style menu that also serves alcohol.
Taco Bell officials announced the new concept last year, and opened their first two locations in Chicago and San Francisco.
Since then, real estate representatives from the company told Shopping Centers Today that the company is in rapid growth mode, and plans to build or remodel around 600 stores this year, with the possibility of including “several hundred” of the new urban cantinas.
Fort Smith-based K-Mac Enterprises, the Taco Bell franchisee for Arkansas, also declined last month to comment on reports that a Dickson Street location – cantina or otherwise – is in the works. (Update: The company confirmed the news late Monday.)
We’ll continue to look for more information.