Zumba Mexican Grille to become Detroit Taco Company

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

This month Zumba Mexican Grill in Royal Oak will transfer to a new owner and become the Detroit Taco Company. The fast-casual Mexican concept will stay the same, and several of Zumba’s signature items will remain featured on the menu.

While Zumba will close, owner Tim Castañeda will still have a role in the new venture as well at at Rojo Mexican Bistro’s four Metro Detroit locations.

Detroit Taco Company is owned by Jeffrey Omtvedt, who also is the controller of Rojo for owner Dan Linnen. Rojo was part of the Andiamo Restaurant Group up until early 2014.

“Tim is going to be a culinary consultant to both concepts,” says Omtvedt. “We’re going to take some of the influences of Zumba, absolutely. Initially we’ll focus on a variety of street tacos that will be more focused on a street taco flare, we’ll continue to have (Zumba’s) bowl-rito option.”

Omtvedt says one of the things he’s really hoping Detroit Taco Company is known for is its Mexican street corn. The fire-grilled corn will be served on a stick and covered with chipotle cream, salt and Cotija cheese.

Detroit Taco Company will start philanthropic initiatives. The first Tuesday of every month the DTC will donate sales from tacos to an area food bank. On select Mondays the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project and Big Brothers and Big Sisters will each receive 20 percent of proceeds.

Castañeda, whose father is from Monterrey, Mexico, has worked in the restaurant business for 30 years, not just in Metro Detroit but also in California and Arizona. He says he opened Zumba in Royal Oak because he “knew Chipotle was coming,” referring to the billion-dollar chain that was founded in Colorado in 1993. He saw locations popping up in Ohio and other parts of the Midwest region and wanted to beat it to the punch.

“I wanted to make it fast and fresh and for discerning palates and kids and people of all ages,” says Castañeda, who first opened Zumba Mexican Grille at 121 N. Main. He moved across the street to 304 N. Main in May of 2012.

Castañeda says he’s stepping down from role as restaurant owner because he wants to enjoy “less financial responsibility.”

“It’s a tough thing, when you have customers for 15 years, they don’t understand why we’re closing. You get attached.”

Zumba’s farewell party will be Oct. 12, 4-10 p.m. There will be live music and a cash bar.

Besides signage, customers will see a few decor tweaks when Detroit Taco Company begins soft openings just a few weeks later. An official grand opening is set for Nov. 1-2.