If you’ve driven past Taco John’s in Beatrice this week, you might have noticed a second Taco John’s sprouting right up beside it.
The shell of a new Taco John’s was delivered by semi trucks earlier this week and, after only four days, the new building is almost fully erected on Sixth Street.
A Minnesota-based company, Fullerton Building Solutions, created the new Taco John’s in their fabrication shop. Fullerton came in after general contractor Caspers Construction of Beatrice tore down the old U.S. Cellular building just after Thanksgiving and laid a new foundation.
“They pack them up and bring them down here,” said Deanne Caspers-Moon of Caspers Construction. “They erect them on-site and it's about three or four days from start to finish. A little bit longer when it's cold weather like this, because your hands just don't move quite as well. It's a pretty quick process.”
The old Taco John’s building has been a work in progress since it was first erected in 1978, said owner Dave Ronso.
Like the new building, the original Taco John’s came on the back of a semi-truck—though it came fully constructed and stocked with equipment. The original site was what the company called a “taco hut,” a 20-foot by 30-foot building made strictly for tacos. Since those small beginnings, the structure has gone through regular upgrades and additions in the 40 years since it opened.
But the old building just isn’t efficient for the current volume of sales the restaurant is doing, Ronso said, so it was time to renovate.
“We will have 70 seats as compared to 52,” he said. “We'll more than double our parking in our parking lot. Obviously, an updated, new facility for everyone to enjoy.”
Starting on Monday, the curb lane of Sixth Street near the new Taco John’s will be closed, Caspers-Moon said in an email. The company will be performing work on the curb, gutter and sidewalk at the location and expect the work to be complete by Jan. 17.
Caspers-Moon said they expect the shell to be fully constructed by the end of this weekend, and then the inside work can begin.
“Next week, we're going to start putting on roofing and putting in windows and doors,” she said. We should be able to get heat in there by the end of the week.”
The new Taco John’s is expected to open in mid-March, putting the total construction time at around three and a half months, with minimal downtime between closing the old store and opening the new store, Ronso said.
“It'll all happen simultaneously,” he said. “We'll close the old store, we'll finish the concrete work, at least in the drive-through, move our existing equipment over and hopefully be back up and running within a couple of weeks.”