A MEXICAN restaurant chain is set to open a branch in Princes Street – marking the thoroughfare’s re-emergence as an eating-out destination.
Bosses at Taco Mazama have unveiled proposals for an outlet at 95 Princes Street – their third in Edinburgh – and revealed it could employ up to 20 staff. They plan to shift their Hanover Street branch to the new venue.
The move – which is subject to planning approval – comes after the city council relaxed its shops-only policy so that cafes, bars and restaurants could return to the mile-long route, where the only dedicated hot food operation for decades was a McDonald’s.
Yo! Sushi last year became the first firm to benefit when it secured permission to open a branch opposite the Royal Scottish Academy.
Bosses at Glasgow-based Taco Enterprises said a desire to improve Princes Street’s range of dining options was a key motivation.
Mexican classics such as fajita and quesadilla will be among the dishes on offer if their plans get the green light.
Director Allan Bell said: “Currently for customers and tourists shopping on Princes Street there is a very limited choice of food establishments and we hope to be able to bring something new and exciting to the area.
“This is one the most attractive shopping streets in the world and definitely has the best view, so it is a shame that there are so few places that people can dwell or get a bite to eat there. The challenge in Edinburgh, and any new location, is that many people are not as familiar with us as in Glasgow but hopefully with this and our new Ocean Terminal branch, we’ll be able to change that.”
Last year, the Evening News told how council chiefs believed encouraging food outlets would help revitalise Princes Street, particularly at the West End, as retail businesses gravitate to the east because of the rebranded Waverley Mall, Multrees Walk and the planned redevelopment of the St James Centre.
Original proposals for a transformation of the thoroughfare’s food offer – unveiled in 2013 – envisaged the creation of a cafe culture modelled on avenues in Paris and Amsterdam.
The revised rules – which apply to any unit smaller than 300sq m – pave the way for up to 25 bars, cafes and restaurants to open in Princes Street.
Leaders at Essential Edinburgh, the city centre business improvement organisation, have welcomed Taco Mazama’s plans.
Chief executive Roddy Smith said: “We are supportive of the move towards greater mixed use on Princes Street with the return of more restaurants.
“Look at the success of George Street. Much of it has been based on a very positive mix of retail, hospitality and offices. This encourages a more sustainable evening economy.”