Taco Bell coming back to Columbiana

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Rumors of Taco Bell reopening in Columbiana are not just rumors anymore.

“Taco Bell is coming to Columbiana,” Mayor Stancil Handley said to those in attendance at the Columbiana Mayor’s Breakfast on Aug. 21. “It’s a done deal.”

The long-awaited return of the Mexican-style quick-service restaurant chain to the city has been the subject of speculation among residents for years, even prompting the creation of a “We Want A Taco Bell In Columbiana, AL” Facebook page.

Columbiana’s new Taco Bell is slated to open by the end of the year, 30 years after Alabama’s first Taco Bell location opened in the city in 1989.

The Columbiana store was torn down in 2009 to make way for a new Jack’s Family Restaurant.

Handley said the new Taco Bell will be built where Oaxaca Mexican Grill currently sits on West College Street.

“Oaxaca will be there until the end of the month,” he said, adding the existing structure will be torn down before construction on Taco Bell begins. “We’re trying to find (Oaxaca) another place to locate in Columbiana.”

The Columbiana City Council approved an ordinance to rezone the property from R-3 and M-2 to B-2 so that “it matches the other property that’s adjacent to it,” according to Director of Environmental Services Dale Lucas.

Handley said the measure allows Tacala, the franchise operator of Taco Bell, to close on the property and move forward with construction plans.