Is A Chipotle Killer On The Rise? Danny Meyer Seems To Think So

The Shake Shack founder invested a ton into Tacombi, a Chipotle competitor.

Have you ever heard of a taco chain called Tacombi? If you haven't, you might soon. Shake Shack founder and restaurateur Danny Meyer's investment group, Enlightened Hospitality Investments, dropped $27.5 million into Tacombi after a funding round, reports Bloomberg. Tacombi founder Dario Wolos plans on using the money for an East Coast expansion, followed by an expansion further down along the Eastern seaboard and across the United States.

Those locations will eventually be in Miami, Washington, D.C., and somewhere in Connecticut. 12 new shops are planned in 2023 in New Jersey, Long Island, Boston, and Chicago. Wolos' goal is to open up around 75 locations within the next five years; right now there are 13 outposts with the majority of them in New York City.

But what about the food? Tacombi began as an al pastor taco stand on a beach in the Yucatán Peninsula in 2006. The al pastor tacos are still on the menu, but now you can get a larger variety of tacos, burritas (which essentially appear to be burritos), and beverages, including margaritas. The food still has a beachy vibe to it, and isn't quite analogous to Chipotle as it features a set menu, but it has similarly aimed price points and feels like it'd fit the same fast-casual bill. (I'm a fan of all food Yucatán, so hopefully this stuff packs similar flavors.)

The Tacombi brand also owns a packaged goods company called Vista Hermosa, which sells a line of tortillas and chips, and will soon sell frozen burritos in limited markets. The expansion money will also be used to improve the Vista Hermosa brand.

Why does Meyer have so much faith in this brand? "Look at the national scope of other Mexican-inflected places, obviously the biggest, broadest, earliest is Taco Bell," Meyer told Bloomberg, adding that Chipotle "has had enormous success."

Better watch your back, Chipotle. Mr. Shake Shack himself is coming for you. With margaritas.