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Fast-Growing Taco Chain Plans to Open 40 New Locations

With growth lagging in recent years, the chain is ramping up its expansion efforts.

After contending with a series of closures and lagging restaurant openings, a popular taco chain is finally starting to grow again, and quickly, thanks to two major new expansion deals.

Fuzzy's Taco Shop—a fast-casual chain that serves up a variety of tacos, burritos, bowls, and other Mexican-style fare—just announced plans to open 40 brand-new locations. One of Fuzzy's existing franchisees, Marc Rogers of Rogers Restaurant Group, will open 15 of those locations in Arizona by 2032.

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Meanwhile, new franchisee Hnreck Nazarian of Nazarian Global Enterprises (NGE) will open the other 25 stores in the Houston area over the next seven years. While this is the first time that NGE is getting into business with Fuzzy's, the company already operates 23 IHOP restaurants.

"As we prepare to grow Fuzzy's Taco Shops throughout Arizona and Texas, we're excited to work with existing and new franchisees to help lead the growth," Fuzzy's President Paul Damico said in a statement.

Fuzzy's Taco Shop exterior
Fuzzy's Taco Shop

Opening 40 new restaurants is a big deal for pretty much any chain, but it's especially notable for Fuzzy's since the company has faced store closures and stalled expansion in recent years, according to Restaurant Business Magazine. Local media reports indicate that at least a few Fuzzy's locations opened throughout 2023, but the chain's current store count (128 locations) is still down from its peak of nearly 150 locations in 2018.

Still, Fuzzy's parent company Dine Brands has high hopes for the taco brand. CEO John Peyton told Restaurant Business Magazine in 2022 that they believe Fuzzy's has the opportunity to expand its footprint throughout the country in the longer term.

"We think the concept really plays well nationally," he said at the time. "We think it's got a lot of potential."

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The expansion deals aren't the only exciting Fuzzy's news to come out recently. Earlier this week, the chain launched three new limited-time menu items that will stick around through June 30: a Cali-Style Steak Taco, Cali-Style Steak Burrito, and Birria Queso Fries.

Fuzzy's Cali-Style Steak Taco
Fuzzy's Taco Shop

The taco features grilled steak, seasoned fries, guacamole, pico de gallo, pickled jalapeños, and chipotle sauce on a warm flour tortilla. The burrito comes with all the same components, plus shredded cheese and a house-made cilantro-lime crema. Lastly, the new loaded fries feature birria beef, queso, shredded cheese, pico de gallo, pickled jalapeños, and a side of chipotle ranch for dipping.

Fuzzy's also announced on May 22 that its popular red, white, and blue frozen margarita—named the "Bomb-a-'Rita"—is back on the menu through July 7.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe