First Columbia-area Del Taco restaurant coming to Harbison shopping district

The Columbia area will get its first Del Taco restaurant by year’s end, the franchise owner said Thursday.

A 2,400-square-foot Del Taco that will seat about 55 people is to be constructed at 145 Harbison Blvd., owner Teshar Patel said. The site is the former Clean View Car Wash that has been at that location for years. Demolition is to start soon and Patel said he hopes to open in November or December.

He has gotten the Del Taco franchise for Richland and Lexington counties and Patel said he has an agreement to open at least three more. The other locations have not been finalized, he said.

A Del Taco that once was in Rock Hill closed a couple of years ago, Patel said. To his knowledge, the Harbison site will be the only one in South Carolina. The company’s website indicates there are none in North Carolina and seven in Georgia.

Founded in 1964, the Del Taco chain primarily serves California and other Western states, according to Bloomberg News, which reported in March that restaurateur Larry Levy was acquiring the company, valued at $500 million., it

Del Taco’s Mexican cuisine offers on-site food preparation, including freshly made – not frozen – breads, Patel said. Its menu also will include hamburgers and milkshakes.

Initial plans for his $2 million investment, including $900,000 for the three-quarters of an acre property, is to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days per week, the owner said. If business along the busy Harbison shopping and restaurant strip is good enough, Patel said he would like to convert the Del Taco to a 24-hour operation.

The restaurant will include drive-through convenience, he said.

Del Taco is Patel’s first venture into a full-service restaurant, though his Shell service station on nearby Lake Murray Boulevard is about to start serving subs, paninis and other baked goods, he said.