Austin’s Beloved Torchy’s Tacos is Going National And People Are Hyped

Is Torchy’s Tacos the new Chipotle?

No really, we’re asking. Those among us who have visited the Austin-based chain swear by the Torchy’s “Democrat” and “Republican” tacos (the former being an avocado-heavy barbacoa taco; the latter being a modified sausage-dog) and rave about the jerk chicken with mango sour cream. Their positive sentiments seem to be widely shared, too. The rapidly expanding company is popular enough to spark internet chatter comparing it to the current (if perhaps undeserving) king of Mexican-style fast-casual food and just scored a cool $400 million from a private equity investment group, General Atlantic.

While Chipotle doesn’t rank highly on our list of favorite places to grab a taco or burrito, we’re always happy to welcome new Mexican-inspired restaurants to the ever-growing fast food universe.

According to the Austin American Statesmen, the $400 million cash infusion will kick off an aggressive national expansion that will see Torchy’s open up 100 restaurants over the next four years. That means more than doubling the number of current outlets by 2025. The plan is to add 10 new states to the mix as well.

Torchy’s Tacos first began 14 years back as a food truck operated by chef Mike Rypka on South First Street in Austin. It originally gained popularity thanks to free samples delivered on a Vespa scooter across Austin by Rypka himself. Since then, the business has boomed and Torchy’s currently operates 83 locations across seven states including Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.

In a year that has been tough for food brands across the board, Torchy’s has managed to not only stay afloat but have a pretty good year overall, opening up 12 stores in 2020 alone. Fast Food Twitter was thrilled at the news, from both Austin-based Torchy’s Fans and Torchy heads living in Torchy-less states with vivid memories of the menu.

Check out some of the excitement below.