Former El Toro restaurant near the Dayton Mall should be ready by this fall, Rusty Taco franchisee says.

There’s a new place for street tacos and margaritas by local mall

Mexican eatery that operates UD, Beavercreek locations opens third location in a former El Toro space.

The Dayton-area’s third Rusty Taco is now open, a spokesman for the taco chain confirmed this morning, Nov. 18.

Rusty Taco, formerly known as R Taco, moved into a 2,700-square-foot space at 2335 Miamisburg-Centerville Road in Miami Twp. that was formerly an El Toro Bar and Grill.

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El Toro relocated to the former TGI Fridays up the street.

The new Rusty Taco location seats roughly 130 people, 90 inside and 40 on a patio. The location employs about 60 people. Rusty Taco currently operates three locations, with other locations near the University of Dayton and in Beavercreek.

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The Dallas-based taco chain now has 34 total stores across nine states.  

Rusty Taco specializes in street-style tacos along with house-made salsas, and also offers craft beers and margaritas. It was founded in 2010 and named for co-founder Rusty Fenton.

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Rusty Taco will open its third Dayton-area restaurant across from the Dayton Mall in space that was recently vacated by El Toro Bar and Grill.

“We have finally sealed the deal — it is happening,”  John Slaughenhaupt, co-founder and co-owner of ThreeWitt Enterprises Inc., Rusty Taco’s Dayton-area franchisee, said of the restaurant coming this fall to  2335 Miamisburg-Centerville Road across from the Dayton Mall. The space housed an El Toro restaurant until a few months ago, when El Toro relocated to the former TGI Fridays up the street.

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The Dayton area’s third Rusty Taco will occupy about 2,700 square feet and will seat about 130, 90 inside and 40 on a patio, Slaughenhaupt said. It will employ about 60, he said. Plans call for a fall opening, perhaps as early as October.

Rusty Taco, then known as R Taco, launched its first Dayton-area restaurant in March 2017 on Brown Street near the University of Dayton, and followed with its second location across from the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek in November 2018.

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Rusty Taco will open its third Dayton-area location across from the Dayton Mall

“Given the location of our other two Rusty Tacos, we knew we wanted to look to the south,” Slaughenhaupt said. “After an extensive search, we settled on the old El Toro location due to the favorable demographics, heavy traffic flow and nice patio setup.”

“We have been blessed with a ton of support from the Dayton community and have incredible customers who enjoy our taco-stand-inspired street tacos and fresh margaritas.”

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Slaughenhaupt said he anticipates opening more Rusty Taco locations in the region. In 2017, ThreeWitt Enterprises Inc. jointly announced it had signed a 13-unit agreement to greatly expand the Dallas, Texas-based taco chain’s footprint in the Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati areas.

“But the restaurant world is a crowded place, so we are taking it one location at a time,” Slaughenhaupt said.

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