The fact that Taco Cabana sells alcohol will always be interesting: Fast-food competitors like Taco Bell and Taco Bueno don't do that. Maybe they never will.

But Texas-based Taco Cabana has been selling booze for decades. That alone sets this Tex-Mex fast-casual apart from the drive-thru taco shops all over town. 

Taco Cabana has a new $2 sopapilla shot: Fireball mixed with Rumchata. 

Taco Cabana has a new $2 sopapilla shot: Fireball mixed with Rumchata. 

Sarah Blaskovich/Staff

On July 8, the company started a new campaign to make Taco C seem like it's seriously targeting drinkers. Maybe it's even becoming a bar. Six stores — in Dallas, Fort Worth, Balch Springs, Garland and Murphy — have started selling $4 margaritas, $9.95 pitchers of frozen lime and strawberry margaritas, and $10.95 pitchers of beer, among other drinks.

On the new menu, there are even $2 shots of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, Sauza Tequila or Tito's Vodka. 

(Pro tip: Say no to the $2 shot of straight vodka. We're all adults here.)

A "sopapilla shot," which also costs $2, is a mix of Rumchata and Fireball. And it's what lured me halfway across Dallas, in rush-hour traffic, to figure out if this made any sense. It's spicy and sugary and silly, and, look: We aren't mad at the sopapilla shot. There I sat, in broad daylight, eating nachos and sipping on a tiny, creamy beverage served in a tiny plastic cup with a tiny plastic handle. I'm not proud of it, but I'd do it again.

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So, wait. Is Taco Cabana becoming a place to drink before you want bean-and-cheese-taco drunk food? They seem to hope so: Happy hour runs every day from 4 to 7 p.m., and beers and sangrias are $1 off; pitchers of beer are $6; classic nachos are $4 and six-packs of flautas are $5.

A spokeswoman says this new effort is created, in part, to bring its customers indoors. "We love that we can provide a fast and convenient option with our drive-thru, but we also have great reasons to come spend a night on our patio," she says.

"We hope that by consistently providing quality beverages and food, along with fun events and live entertainment, more guests will recognize Taco Cabana as a destination for their family gathering, weekend night out, or post-work happy hour spot."

Taco Cabanas' drink specials and sopapilla shots are at these restaurants:

  • 9210 E. R.L. Thornton Freeway (near Interstate 30 and Buckner Road), Dallas
  • 4360 Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike (near Interstate 30 and North Cockrell Hill Road), Dallas
  • 4313 S. Freeway (near Interstate 35W and East Seminary Drive), Fort Worth
  • 2601 Dean St., Balch Springs
  • 5959 Broadway Blvd., Garland
  • 104 W. FM 544, Murphy
  • and at 25 restaurants in San Antonio, Houston, Austin and El Paso

Other Taco Cabanas in Texas will carry the same happy-hour deals eventually, the spokeswoman says.

For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.

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