Chronic Tacos, a California taco chain, coming to Triangle

A rendering of the new Chronic Tacos opening this spring in Chapel Hill’s Meadowmont Village.
A rendering of the new Chronic Tacos opening this spring in Chapel Hill’s Meadowmont Village. Courtesy of Sean O’Neill

Chronic Tacos will open three franchise locations in the Triangle this year, including the first one in Chapel Hill’s Meadowmont Village in May.

Sean O’Neill said he is partnering with his parents to open the three franchise locations in Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Wake Forest this year, which will be the first Chronic Tacos locations on the East Coast.

The California-based restaurant was started in 2002 in Newport Beach and now has more than 30 locations, including in California, Nevada and Canada. It serves made-to-order tacos, burritos, tostadas, quesadillas, nachos and more. Customers order their meal along an assembly line with ingredients made fresh every day and costing on average about $9, O’Neill explained. Breakfast will be served all day.

Popular items include Baja-style shrimp or fish tacos (sauteed or fried and served with cabbage, pico de gallo, spicy mayo, cheese and limes) and potato taco (a corn tortilla filled with mashed potatoes and cheese and deep fried) and Chronic fries (think nachos but with fries instead of tortilla chips).

The first location will open in May at Chapel Hill’s Meadowmont Village, O’Neill said. The 45-seat restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hours are expected to start between 9 a.m.-10 a.m. and close at 10 p.m.; although, O’Neill said, demand may expand the breakfast hours.

This summer, they will open a second location at The Shoppes at Heritage Village in Wake Forest at the intersection of Forestville and Rogers Roads. (The new Publix is opening in that shopping center as well.) This fall, they will open a third location at Olive Park at the intersection of Falls of Neuse and Litchford Roads, where a Sprouts grocery store is also opening.

O’Neill, 22, said his parents own a construction business in Chapel Hill and were looking for an investment that would provide retirement income. O’Neill, a graduate of Northwood High School in Pittsboro, said he had attended community college but school wasn’t the right fit. “Restaurants were what took,” he explained. He has been working for the Red Robin restaurant chain, most recently as a front of the house manager.

Weigl: 919-829-4848;

Twitter: @andreaweigl