For people who are tired of contrived, cookie-cutter chains that serve tasteless, soulless, average food, Chronic Tacos is the fast-casual concept that offers the taste of Mexican cuisine in a fun, laid back atmosphere.
Chronic Tacos was founded in 2001 by Randy Wyner and Dan Biello. The pair had an idea that fast, fresh, made to order Mexican food could be served up with authentic recipes in a fun and friendly atmosphere. They envisioned great Mexican food with California style. By 2004, Chronic Tacos became a local sensation and the owners found that customers were flocking not only from Newport Beach, where the first location opened, but from nearby cities as well. It was at this point they realized it was time to expand.
Over the last several years, the demand for authentic Mexican cuisine has greatly increased; according to an IBISWorld industry report, the Mexican restaurant industry has grown at an estimated 1.4 percent annual rate over the last five years, reaching $30.7 billion in 2012. In 2006, Chronic Tacos seized the Mexican food popularity wave and became Chronic Tacos Enterprises and began franchising. The first franchise location opened in San Clemente, California, and attracted more than 1,000 hungry and excited locals. There are currently over 30 Chronic Tacos locations throughout North America, with plans to expand across the west coast and Canada and a goal of opening over 100 stores by 2018.
“We are a taco shop that lives and breathes the taco life,” says Randy Wyner, a founder and president of Chronic Tacos. “We aim to create a truly unique experience and culture for our customers, encouraging individuality through our customizable dishes, Southern California feel, and locally sourced ingredients. All of our flavorful food is made daily from scratch, in house.”
Customers’ taste buds will travel to Mexico with Chronic Tacos’ third generation Mexican recipes including carne asada (steak), pollo asado (chicken), carnitas (slow cooked pork), al pastor (spicy marinated pork), and fresh pico de gallo and guacamole. Customers can also order fish and shrimp grilled or beer battered done baja style. Chronic Tacos restaurants offer traditional items such as tacos, burritos, and tostada bowls as well as specialty items including salads with unique dressings like chipotle lime vinaigrette. In addition to the authentic Mexican cuisine, Chronic Tacos has a variety of Mexican beers available, as well as horchata, a Mexican drink made of rice, vanilla, and cinnamon.