Did you know that Bakersfield, the new taco and tequila bar in Brush Park, is a chain? 

Eddie Merlot's in Bloomfield Township and the Sedona Taphouse, Kona Grill and Capital Grille (all in Troy) are also not unique to this area. 

Being a chain isn't a bad thing, of course, but many times when a new spot opens, it's unclear to area diners if this is an original idea owned locally, or a concept that worked so well in other towns that owners decided to open in Metro Detroit. 

Many have opened in the past few years, and even more franchises are coming. It's a byproduct of our growing dining scene. 

On Monday, Yard House will open a Troy restaurant, its first in Michigan (most of the 70-plus locations are out west).

Headquartered in Florida, this beer bar offers a huge selection of drafts with 110 taps. The Troy location will have more than 2 miles worth of beer lines carrying local, national and imported suds from the glass-encased keg room to your glass. 

Yard House's menu is complimentary to drinking beer and watching sports, with some elevated entrees like Parmesan pork loin and ginger-crusted salmon. Yard House has a commitment to feeding the hungry and helping nonprofits. To celebrate its Michigan arrival, proceeds from training and friends and family events ahead of opening will be donated to Forgotten Harvest Food Bank. 

Condado Tacos will become Downtown Royal Oak's fourth taco restaurant when it opens this spring at 310 S. Main (where B Spot Burgers was). The Ohio-based chain will join Mesa Tacos and Tequila, Detroit Taco Company (both also on Main) and Iron Horse in serving the popular Mexican cuisine.

How Condado differs from these existing restaurants is the build-your-own taco concept. The menu features a massive variety that includes options for just about every diet you can think of. Besides tacos, other highlights of Condado are the tequila and whiskey selections (50 of each) and a focus on original, local artwork. 

Founder and CEO Joe Kahn, who started Condado in 2014, said he visited Metro Detroit five or six years ago and didn't see enough evidence of the "comeback" everyone was talking about. After a visit about a year ago, though, Kahn was convinced. 

"It was an amazing change," he said. "It's such a thriving area now. We just love the market. It's a growing market."

He calls Royal Oak a "winning area" and explains that Condado's concept differs from the other restaurants that also serve tacos and a full bar because of the level of customization Condado offers. And I agree with him that, unlike maybe sushi or barbecue, tacos are one of those dishes that has a huge appeal and there are likely enough taco fans to go around. 

“Royal Oak, Midtown and downtown, they have an influx of great restaurants coming in and great chefs coming in,” he said. “I saw what I liked and that was a cool, hip, crowd that likes to go out and eat and I think if you bring in quality restaurants to the area, they’ll come.” 

More nationally owned restaurant names that are new to the area include Seasons 52, a wine bar opening Thursday in Troy, and Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse, open now in Northville.

Twitter: @melodybaetens


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