Austin fast-casual chain Torchy’s Tacos is taking over Tex-Mex restaurant Santa Rita Cantina’s West Slaughter Lane location within the Escarpment Village.
A rep for Torchy’s confirmed the expansion, but there is no opening date as of yet. This will be Torchy’s 14th Austin location (15th if you include the forthcoming one in Dripping Springs).
Since Santa Rita already served margaritas, cocktails, beer, and wine, it’s safe to assume that the new Torchy’s will feature a full bar as well. That’s a boozy feature that only a few Torchy’s Tacos include, like Guadalupe, Mueller, Lakeway, Cedar Park, and Round Rock. The flagship restaurant on South Congress Avenue isn’t allowed to serve any alcoholic beverages still, because of pushback from the neighborhood regarding the proximity of the nearby Fulmore Middle School.
Other neighboring restaurants within Escarpment Village include District Kitchen and Cocktails, Satellite Bistro and Bar, and Mangieri’s Pizza Cafe.
Santa Rita’s southern restaurant closed on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2017. Owner Eddie Bernal opened the original Santa Rita Cantina on West 38th Street in 2004 (that location remains open), followed by the West Slaughter Lane location several years later. Bernal also owns 34th Street Cafe, Blue Star Cafe, and Gusto Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar.
Torchy’s Tacos owner Michael Rypka opened the first taco trailer on South 1st Street in 2006, and it expanded with locations throughout Texas, as well as Colorado and Oklahoma.