The boozy, never-closed Taco Bell Cantina at the Strip’s Harmon Corner has proven to be such a huge success that the restaurant is expanding downtown, moving under the Fremont Street Experience canopy and taking over part of the historic former home of the El Portal Theatre.
Originally planned to be called the Fremont Food Emporium, with a handful of fast-casual tenants, the cantina will take over 6,000 square feet inside the 16,564-square-foot building.
Keeping the wide open to Fremont Street design first proposed by the emporium, cantina diners can travel directly upstairs via a brightly lit escalator, or sit downstairs and watch the food prepared in the open kitchen.
In July, the Nevada Preservation Foundation protested the Fremont Food Emporium’s plans to renovate the El Portal building and the “irreplaceable loss of of Vegas History and culture.”
While the 90 year-old structure and exterior will be lost to the cantina makeover, the existing El Portal sign has been integrated into the current plans.
Taco Bell expects the project to debut next year.
• Fremont Food Emporium Replaces El Portal [ELV]