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Moving into town: Taco John's opens in new downtown DL location

Taco John's opened at their new downtown location a few weeks ago. Kaysey Price / Tribune

It's been a couple of weeks since Taco John's reopened its doors in downtown Detroit Lakes, and owner Kari Melbostad says business has been going swell.

"We're excited to be here. We're excited to be part of the community," she said, adding that the new spot has brought in more of a lunch crowd than they were expecting.

"We're seeing a lot more school kids that have open lunch," she added.

Melbostad and her co-owner and brother Brian Fuder had their eyes on a downtown location for some time. They suspected a new spot would even out their sales, which Melbostad says were mostly seasonal when they were out on Highway 10, so when the Holiday gas station moved across the street, leaving their old building empty, they scooped up the spot.

Now back downtown, they're not far from their original 1980's location.

The downtown spot is right where they want to be, with a better set-up and bigger store.

Melbostad and Fuder hired Bristlin Construction to completely gut the building after the Holiday Station store moved out. They switched around parking and entrances and installed a drive through.

Inside, the set-up is very similar to any other Taco John's, being that it's a chain and there are standards they must follow, but the building is a little bigger than most of the other fast-food locations, meaning there's a little extra office and storage space.

When they finally revealed the new location and held their grand opening on January 5, Melbostad says it didn't go quite as well as expected because the weather was so cold.

"Had we known, we would have planned it on a warmer weekend," she said.

But they still had a small crowd turnout and were able to hand out prizes as planned.

Melbostad says they're still finalizing a few things, still looking to hire a few more staff members, but for the most part, they're already feeling right at home and are looking to get more involved community-wise.

They already have a Giving Hearts Day fundraiser planned where they will donate a portion of their sales to the cause—and Melbostad says there will definitely be more to come.

As for the old, Highway 10 location, she hasn't heard what will become of it quite yet. She says there have been rumors that buyers have been looking at it for a remodel and reopen "but it's all confidential at this point."

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