Special Report

The Top 15 Mexican Chains in America

10. Taco Cabana
> U.S. sales: $324 million
> Number of U.S. units: 170

The Tex-Mex menu at Taco Cabana, which calls itself a “Mexican patio cafe,” lists all the usual items (tacos, burritos, quesadillas, etc.), but also offers flautas — the rolled, fried tacos sometimes called taquitos. Vegan-friendly Beyond Meat tacos, nachos, and bowls are available, too. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, the chain’s locations are focused in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.

Source: v343790 / Wikimedia Commons

9. On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
> U.S. sales: $348 million
> Number of U.S. units: 143

Another Dallas-born chain, on the border launched in 1982, featuring mesquite-grilled meats, hand-pressed tortillas, and small-batch salsas. In addition to its tacos, enchiladas, burritos, chimichangas, and the like, On the Border offers such specialties as grilled queso chicken, Caribbean mango grilled fish, and carne asada at its locations in 17 states.

8. Taco John’s
> U.S. sales: $371 million
> Number of U.S. units: 392

First opened a half-century ago in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and still based there, Taco John’s calls its fare “West-Mex.” Now operating in 22 states, the chain offers some unusual additions to the usual Mexican chain menu — for instance, a meat and potato burrito, stuffed grilled tacos, and flauta-like “Mexi Rolls,” served with a choice of dipping sauces.

7. Chuy’s Tex-Mex
> U.S. sales: $398 million
> Number of U.S. units: 100

The original Chuy’s appeared in 1982 in Austin, Texas. The Lone Star State is now one of the 19 in which there are Chuy’s units. Tortillas at Chuy’s are handmade daily, all the ingredients are fresh (not frozen), and there are 10 homemade salsas. The menu includes queso, guacamole, both soft and crispy tacos, “Big As Yo’ Face” burritos, and Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken (breaded with crushed potato chips).

6. Moe’s Southwest Grill
> U.S. sales: $739 million
> Number of U.S. units: 727

Billing itself as “a Mexican restaurant with a Southwest twist,” though it comes from Atlanta originally, Moe’s pretty much covers the country, with locations in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Menu items have fanciful names like Homewrecker (an overstuffed burrito ), John Coctostan (a Southwest-style quesadilla), and Alright Alright Alright (nachos with queso).