What we know about Torchy’s, the Texas favorite opening its first NC location in Raleigh

Drew Jackson
·3 min read

If you’re from Texas you probably know Torchy’s Tacos, which some say is the king of queso.

The popular Texas taco shop will open its first North Carolina location in Raleigh this spring, joining the Wegmans-anchored Midtown East development on Wake Forest Road.

Torchy’s started as an Austin taco trailer in 2006 and has expanded into seven different states and more than 80 locations. Company officials and Texas transplants say to look to Torchy’s for green chili queso, which can be spiked with chorizo, and for breakfast tacos and a solid margarita.

The Torchy’s menu includes a variety of flour or corn tortilla tacos with classics like pork carnitas, barbacoa and fried shrimp, as well as fusion options and creations like a Jamaican jerk chicken taco with grilled jalapenos and mango, and a fried avocado taco. Being from Texas, there’s also a smoked brisket taco and one called the “Republican,” made with a jalapeno cheddar sausage. Margaritas come frozen, on the rocks and top shelf and are made with real juice.

The Raleigh Torchy’s Tacos will be the largest restaurant in the Midtown East development off of Wake Forest Road. The kitchen and dining room are under construction.
The Raleigh Torchy’s Tacos will be the largest restaurant in the Midtown East development off of Wake Forest Road. The kitchen and dining room are under construction.

The Raleigh store brings the brand to North Carolina for the first time and will be the first Torchy’s on the East Coast. The restaurant chain was founded by Mike Rypka in Austin, but in recent years has caught the attention of various investment firms, according to restaurant trade publication QSR Magazine. That has fueled Torchy’s rapid growth.

“I became well acquainted with Torchy’s Tacos when I lived in Austin,” said Midtown East leasing agent Annie Dlogokecki in an email. “They’re a fantastic operator serving up outstanding fare. From the energy of Torchy’s buzzworthy concept to those fabulous tacos and queso, Raleigh really has something to look forward to with this tenant coming to the Midtown East lineup.”

Torchy’s officials said the restaurant plans to open in late spring or early summer of 2021.

The restaurant will be the largest tenant in Midtown East at 3,800 square feet. Midtown East, which is owned by Jacksonville-based developer Regency Centers, has turned the space over to Torchy’s, which is in the middle of building out its kitchen and dining room.

Much of Midtown East is already built out and open, most notably the Wegmans, open now for 18 months. The development, tucked just inside the Beltline, also includes a CAVA, a Crumbl dessert bar and a soon-to-open location of Ashley Christensen’s BB’s Crispy Chicken.

Texas transplants sing the praises of green chile queso from Austin-based Torchy’s Tacos, which is opening its first North Carolina location in Raleigh.
Texas transplants sing the praises of green chile queso from Austin-based Torchy’s Tacos, which is opening its first North Carolina location in Raleigh.

Torchy’s is the largest beloved Texas brand to make a splash in the Triangle, following the boom and bust of Buc-ee’s Travel Center. Buc-ee’s, known for its pristine bathrooms, rescinded plans for a proposed Orange County gas station after local pushback.

The Texas taco shop also joins a wave of regional fast-casual restaurants expanding their reach in the Triangle. Hot chicken chain Dave’s plans to open around a half dozen locations in the Triangle, and Australian burrito and bowl concept Zambrero. also is expanding in the area.