The year was 1980,Taco Bell had already made it’s first appearances throughout Georgia but they weren’t the first fast food Mexican restaurant to enter Carrollton, Del Taco takes the prize in that category. Del Taco was very well known throughout the Southwest and expanded into Georgia in 1980 in quick succession. Locations popped up in LaGrange, Newnan, Cedartown, and Carrollton. Carrollton was a bit different however in which we had two locations in town for a short time in the early 80s with a location on Maple Street and another on Bankhead Highway. An interesting fact to remember is at that time the only 2 fast food chains in Carrollton with multiple locations were McDonald’s and Del Taco .A rarity at the time and Del Taco was a hit in Carrollton.
Before 1986 the Maple Street location became a Krystal which some Del Tacos in this time changed over to one likely the result of the person who owned its franchise, however that didn’t stop Del Taco’s growing popularity among folks here and for their first nine years they faced no competition from any other fast food Mexican places until the late 1980s when the Taco Bell rang on Bankhead Hwy. For a few years both chains competed for bragging rights but Del Taco was internally struggling at the time and its days were numbered.
In 1992 it was announced that Del Taco was pulling out of the market and after twelve years Del Taco’s stay in Georgia was over. Taco Bell took some locations in Georgia but Carrollton’s location for the next few years sat boarded up and empty awaiting new life. In the mid 90s for a time Del Taco briefly returned to Georgia through a combination with Mrs.Winner’s, with a new logo to boot but by the turn of the century Del Taco was gone once again. Back to Carrollton in the mid 90s new life came to our old Del Taco on Bankhead Hwy in the form of Schlotzsky’s Deli for a brief stay before closing and after-wards local restaurant Uncle Buck’s moved into the spot moving from their former location at North Park Street and Alabama Street. Uncle Buck’s also lasted for a brief time before closing as well. In 2000 Martin’s opened in the spot and has been going strong ever since.
Earlier this year it was announced that Del Taco is planning to re-enter the Atlanta Market with a location opening in Snellville Georgia. Currently the plans are to open up to 60 locations. People in Carrollton miss Del Taco and hopefully if all goes according to plan we may see Del Taco return here as well. Taco Bell needs some competition these days anyways.
Article By Grady Ellis