Lehigh Valley’s newest Taco Bell joining popular fast-food corridor in Allentown

Chalupa, gordita and locos tacos fans soon will have a new spot to “Live Mas” along a popular Allentown fast-food corridor.

Signs went up in recent weeks for the construction of a new Taco Bell restaurant behind Wells Fargo Bank along South Fourth Street on the city’s South Side. A chain spokesperson confirmed to lehighvalleylive.com Friday the eatery would be opening later this year. The spokesperson said the site would have a drive-through but couldn’t provide any other details about the project.

Preliminary plans in February 2019 for the project indicated a 2,753-square-foot building with seating for 66 people, as well as an outdoor porch and 37 parking spaces, according to a WFMZ-69 News report.

Taco Bell, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., is one of the leading Mexican-inspired quick-service restaurant brands worldwide. The chain is known for serving made-to-order and customizable tacos and burritos, as well as other specialties. The chain and its franchisees operate more than 7,000 restaurants, including nearly 500 restaurants across nearly 30 countries outside of the United States, according to its website.

The new Taco Bell will be joining several other fast-casual eateries on the approximate one-mile stretch between Chapel and Emmaus avenues. There’s already a McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Pizza Hut, KFC and Wendy’s. The new Taco Bell additionally is being built near what will become a new Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen on the site of a former Checkers Drive-In.

Developer Allentown Fourth LLC began construction this past April on the 2,145-square-foot Popeyes, 1935 S. 4th St., city spokeswoman Genesis Ortega told lehighvalleylive.com Friday.

Checkers, which opened in 2014, was shut down by the city four years later due to health violations, including lack of refrigeration, according to the Morning Call newspaper. A WFMZ-69 News broadcast showed the former Checkers building being hauled away on a tractor trailer to make way for the new Popeyes.

The Popeyes chain has more than 3,600 restaurants nationally with regional eateries along MacArthur Road in Whitehall Township and Hanover Avenue in east Allentown. Additionally, there are plans to construct another Popeyes, along with an Arby’s restaurant, on the site of the now demolished Ahart’s Market in Phillipsburg.

Ahart’s shuttered in 2017 in Phillipsburg, followed by similar closures at the grocer’s other locations in South Bethlehem in April 2021 and in Allentown in November 2021.

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Pamela Sroka-Holzmann may be reached at [email protected].