New Taco Bell may be coming to area

JOHNSTOWN – A Taco Bell restaurant may open at the site of the recently-closed Burger King restaurant on Route 30A, a principal involved in negotiations said Friday.

Steve Pinkerton, a principal with Hospitality Syracuse Inc. – a franchisee for Taco Bell – said the popular fast-food restaurant is eyeing that site.

“We’re trying to get a feel for the Burger King site, will it work,” he said.

Pinkerton said his firm – a subsidiary of the Syracuse-based Hospitality Restaurant Group – doesn’t have a deal yet with the owners of the Burger King property. He said his firm is in negotiations with the owners, who are from out of town and couldn’t be identified Friday.

He said his firm also has a “backup” site within Fulton County, if the Burger King property at 204 N. Comrie Ave. doesn’t pan out. Nevertheless, Pinkerton said if everything works out, the company may have a site plan to build the new Taco Bell to present to the city Planning Board at its next meeting April 8 at City Hall.

He said the company would demolish the existing Burger King building and Taco Bell would build a new structure at the site.

“We would have to tear down the building,” Pinkerton said. “We want to be there.”

The new fast-food business would be in the high-traffic business section of North and South Comrie avenues in the city, which over the years has been nicknamed the “miracle mile.” That stretch includes the Johnstown Mall and the Johnstown Shopping Center, where T.J. Maxx recently opened.

“The people of [Johnstown] are very positive,” Pinkerton said. “We’ve talked to the city. We’re very excited about the opportunity to have a Taco Bell in the market.”

Hospitality Syracuse Inc. has been working with the city Code Enforcement Office on submittal of a possible project site plan.

“I’ve only heard whispers about it,” said Mayor Michael Julius, who declined further comment Friday.

Locally, the closest existing Taco Bell restaurant is located in the Sanford Farms Shopping Center in Amsterdam.

The Hospitality Restaurant Group is a YUM! Brands, Inc. restaurant franchisee. Those restaurants include Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC and Long John Silvers. The firm has 72 locations located throughout upstate New York.

Taco Bell Corp. – a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. with corporate offices in Irvine, Calif. – is the nation’s leading Mexican-inspired fast food restaurant.

According to its website, Taco Bell serves made to order and customizable tacos, burritos, and specialties such as the exclusive Doritos Locos Tacos, gourmet inspired Cantina Bell Menu, and lower calorie Fresco Menu.

Taco Bell and its more than 350 franchise organizations have nearly 6,000 restaurants across the United States that serve more than 36 million customers every week, the website said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at