Another well-known Texas restaurant chain is implementing expansion plans in the Pikes Peak area.
Austin-based Torchy’s Tacos will open its first restaurant in Colorado Springs in mid-October at the InterQuest Marketplace mall, northeast of Interstate 25 and the InterQuest Parkway north of the city.
Torchy’s, which coined its slogan of “fucking good tacos” after customers praised its signature menu item, launched 15 years ago this week when founder Mike Rypka started selling items of a food truck.
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The chain now has 95 establishments in 11 states, including six restaurants in the Denver area and one in Fort Collins, according to its website.
Torchy’s has looked to expand in Colorado Springs since opening its first Colorado location five years ago, said John Madrick, a market partner who oversees restaurant development and site selection in the state.
Torchy’s viewed Colorado Springs as an attractive market due to its vibrant economy and the acceptance of new restaurant brands, Madrick said. And since its in-state debut, Torchy’s has heard from “a ton of people” who wanted the brand to come to Colorado Springs.
“It’s also almost an element of demand,” Madrick said. “We are really trying to put supply where we think the demand is.”
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The InterQuest area on the north side seemed like a natural fit for the city’s first Torchy location, he said.
The expansive 900,000 square foot InterQuest Marketplace is one of four commercial and mixed-use developments in the InterQuest area, along with Victory Ridge, InterQuest Commons, and InterQuest Town Center.
Together, the developments make up the hottest commercial area in Colorado Springs and are home to hotels, restaurants, retailers, movie theaters, service-oriented businesses, and apartments. Outdoor retailer Scheels All Sports and the Great Wolf Lodge and Water Park are among the top attractions of InterQuest Marketplace.
The Air Force Academy, meanwhile, is just west of Interstate 25, and New Life Church, Pikes Peak Community College, and employers such as Bal-Seal Engineering are among the major players in the region. .
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Ent Credit Union also built a head office at InterQuest; In-N-Out Burger opened its first restaurant there in Colorado, as well as production and distribution facilities; and Centura Health opened a 72-bed hospital in the region in May.
“This is a great place to start our developments in Colorado Springs,” said Madrick.
Torchy’s will likely add at least one more restaurant in the Springs area, although the chain wants to see how the InterQuest Marketplace location performs first, he said.
Torchy’s offers a variety of tacos, as well as breakfast tacos, salads, burritos, quesos, sides, and cocktails. The restaurant, at approximately 4,000 square feet, will employ 85 full-time and part-time people, Madrick said.
The restaurant promotes itself as a “relaxed artisan, chef-led” concept, said Madrick, whose tacos are made from fresh ingredients every day. The mantra “Damn good tacos” highlights a slightly irreverent corporate culture that has helped attract cult fans known as “taco junkies,” he said.
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At InterQuest Marketplace, Torchy’s will join another Texas chain Whataburger, as well as Noodles & Co., Parry’s Pizza, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, and Chili’s, among others.
“We feel like we’re becoming the go-to place for lunch and dinner,” said Robert Garcia, vice president of the Nor’wood Development Group in Colorado Springs, which built the InterQuest Marketplace. “We now have 19 different food and beverage establishments.
“Oddly enough, the bigger operators say they want to be side by side because it becomes the place to go for lunch and dinner,” Garcia said. “We think we’ve developed this.”