Food & Drink

Al’s Burger Shack and IP3 owners end plans for Chapel Hill taco shop collaboration

It turns out the dream marriage of pizza and burgers will not lead to tacos.

Yellow House Tacos, the taqueria project of Al’s Burger Shack guru Al Bowers and pizza parlor brothers Angelo and Vinnie Marrone of Italian Pizzeria III, has been called off.

Bowers confirmed the news Tuesday, saying the taco concept will not be moving forward.

“We just have a little too much going on,” Bowers said. “We decided to focus on what we have.”

What Bowers has is three open Al’s Burger Shacks in Chapel Hill; Mel’s Commissary, which he runs with his wife Melody; a catering company and involvement in the new 401 Main bar in Carrboro owned by Chris Baldwin.

Yellow House Tacos was planned as a counter service taco shop in the small yellow house behind Al’s Burger Shack. Bowers and the Marrone brothers had already cleared Chapel Hill’s permitting process and were set to begin construction. The partners had hoped to have the taco shop open before the fall semester at UNC, but work never began. Bowers said focusing on other projects was the only reason for calling off Yellow House Tacos.

“I hope someone else does it, but it won’t be the three of us,” Bowers said.

Chapel Hill’s Franklin Street has been in a state of turnover in the past couple of years, and Al’s Burger Shack and IP3, as it’s known, have been a corner of casual dining stability amidst the shuttering of Hops Burger Bar and, more recently, Mellow Mushroom. In the spring, in an interview announcing Yellow House Tacos, the partners hoped to open a Mexico City style taco shop, they said.

“We know what’s good, what we like to eat, but it will be our spin on it,” Vinnie Marrone said earlier this year.

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Drew Jackson writes about restaurants and dining for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun, covering the food scene in the Triangle and North Carolina.