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Tallassee getting two new restaurants

By Michael Butler

Two of the nation's largest restaurant chains are locating in Tallassee. Soon, Taco Bell and Papa John's will be opening - both on Gilmer Avenue.

Papa John's is going into the Hampton Place Shopping Center at 466 Gilmer where Tech Pros was the most recent tenant. Taco Bell is locating at 576 Gilmer on the former lot that housed offifces for Caldwell Properties and State Farm agent Logan Steers.

Steers has purchased the strip mall at Pinehurst Plaza at 1409 Gilmer and is occupying Unit 1 on the end that is closest to the highway.


"My wife and I moved to Tallassee in 2019," said Steers. "Our original location was a great starting place for my office, and we are eager to see new business in that same location. We recently moved to 1409 Gilmer after remodeling the unit. My team and I are very excited about the new location and contiuing to serve in the Tallassee community."

Steers' new location is directly across from Louie's Chicken Fingers. The building was originally a KFC/Taco Bell, so this is not Taco Bell's first time in Tallassee. The business was here in the early 2000s.

There are now new owners of the local area Taco Bell franchises.

Demolition is this week for the former State Farm building that was converted from residential to business use by previous owner Bonita Caldwell for her law practice. The property intersects Noble Road that leads to Noble Subdivision, but access onto the premises will be via Gilmer Avenue.

"The goal is to open the first week of August," said Marjorie Perlman of Tacala Communications on Taco Bell's target date. "It's 44 seats in the dining room. We'll have an outdoor patio with seating for about 20. The plan is to open for breakfast at 7 and be open until at least midnight. Most of our locations are 1 a.m."

Taco Bell, on average, employees 30-35 for individual operations.

"We generally begin taking applications about four to six weeks before opening, so we can get people in training."

Papa John's is also shooting for opening its doors soon.

"We currently have a set of blueprints at the city for permitting. Once that is complete we start our equipment orders and construction," said Peter Ogg, Vice President of Operations and Development. "From permit to open sign was previously six to eight weeks. My best estimate would be that we will be late summer - just in time for football season."

Ogg talked about why his group chose Tallassee.

"We actually have a formula that we used to plug in every small town in Alabama that does not currently have a Papa John's. It's pretty complicated but basically uses population, number of restaurants, number of pizza competitors and the normal income demographics. The resulting number means nothing by itself until you compare it to other towns. Tallassee ranked very high on the list, mostly driven by the lack of competitors and no other delivery options. Add in the fact that it will be the closest store to my house and it's a win."

Ogg said hours of operation are typically 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. from Sunday - Thursday and 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Papa John's is the 15th largest restaurant chain with approximately 5,400 locations. Taco Bell has over 7,000 restaurants worldwide and is the 10th largest chain in the world.