Taco John’s will join a Wilmington Pike fast food strip that already includes McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Popeye’s, Burger King and Lee’s

Taco John’s menu includes tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and desserts, as well as breakfast options.

Construction is slated for the spring, with the goal of opening around August 2023, Pelhank said.

Taco John’s, which started in 1968, has more than 380 locations in 22 states, including Ohio locations in Athens, Bellville and Circleville, according to its website.

Meritage, a Michigan-based restaurateur, also lists Wendy’s, Stan’s Tacos and Morning Belle among its 344 restaurants in 16 states. He recently became a Taco John’s Ohio franchise, Pelhank said, and “that’s where we’re trying to build right now.”

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Kettering welcomes the chain to help diversify dining options, city economic development officer Amy Schrimpf said in an email.

“This is a new chain for the Dayton area, and we are proud that they have chosen Kettering for their first location in this market,” she said.

Meritage recently announced plans for another Ohio location in the Cincinnati area as part of an expansion plan in that state and others over the next few years.

Meritage said it would initially build 50 new Taco John’s restaurants by 2026 as part of an estimated $100 million investment, with options to develop an additional 150 restaurants, according to the Oct. 19 announcement.

Kettering’s proposal is to “carve out a new lot” of around 1.5 acres from the estimated 40-acre Meijer property, planner David Roller told planning commissioners before they approved the move last week.

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Meijer previously owned about 45 acres in Wilmington, according to Montgomery County land records. In 2021, Hempstead Landing, a four-story, 40-unit building, was built on 1,175 acres. It sits just south of the U.S. Post Office, 1740 E. Stroop Road, and was an $8.284 million project, according to state records.

Last year, the city approved a 5-acre land division for the 50-unit Darby Run, an $11.537 million project, Ohio documents show.

Both projects – co-developed by County Corp. — are general-occupancy labor housing communities that received 9% Ohio housing tax credits, according to state records.

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Writer Natalie Jones contributed to this report.

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