SAN JOSE, Calif. - Taco Bell opened another of its popular cantina restaurants in a San Jose shopping mall Wednesday.
This movie-themed cantina will be at the Westfield Oakridge Mall. It's next door to the Century movie theater on Blossom Hill Road.
Neon lights and a display case give the counter of this restaurant the appearance of a movie theater's concession stand.
Like other cantinas, this one will have an open kitchen and serve beer, wine and liquor.
Perhaps the most famous Taco Bell Cantina is the beachfront restaurant in Pacifica.
The Cantina is also located near the Century Theaters, and some people say that may make going to see a movie a bit more enjoyable and affordable.
"Like a hot dog that’s almost stale is going to be like $6 or $7 rather than, you can get a taco for like $2," said Rehan Calhoun of San Jose.
A movie-themed Taco Bell Cantina opened in San Jose on August 23, 2023.
Retail analysts say getting people back into the malls and movie theaters has been a struggle over the last five years or so, especially after the pandemic. The director of the Retail Management Institute at Santa Clara University says restaurants like the Taco Bell Cantina are a growing trend.
"I think the notion of a mall as just a place where you go and shop is transforming away from a mall but as place where you go get entertained, and you have food and a combination of these things. That’s kind of what you’re seeing here and why they’re locating next to that movie theater," said Professor Kirthi Kalyanam with Santa Clara University.
One woman says her daughter loves to eat Taco Bell, and she likes having other alternatives at today’s shopping malls.
"When we were kids it was just a mall. You’d see Sears and now Sears closed. Now you have that UFC Gym. There’s even a Ranch Market," Rochelle said.
Customers at the new San Jose location Wednesday will be entered for a chance to win free food for a year.