Chronic Tacos was founded by Randall (Randy) Wyner in Newport Beach, California. Randy wanted to bring his love of made-to-order Mexican food to an area that didn’t have anything of its style. The low key spot where you could come in, grab some tasty tacos and just chill. Randy worked hard to put his vision into fruition and opened his first Chronic Tacos in 2002. Chronic Tacos has gained popularity across the country and has now made waves in North Carolina, too.
Chronic Tacos opened its first North Carolina locale on June 19th at its Chapel Hill location in Meadowmont Village. Sean O’Neill has partnered with his parents to bring this So-Cal chain to the East Coast and spread the good news of tacos. Their Chapel Hill location is the first of three anticipated Chronic Tacos they plan to open here in the Triangle.
Sean was more than eager to explain why he and his family were so jazzed to take on this new venture. Sean tells me that his parents have been in the construction business for years and were looking into different retirement options. Opening a Chronic Tacos storefront seemed like just the fit. As JeanMarie O’Neill says, “We always had Taco Tuesdays with the kids at the house when they were growing up. We’re big foodies and have attended Terra Vita for years. We were excited to be able to start this new business opportunity here with Chronic Tacos.”
Sean continues with the O’Neill family sentiment, “We’ve lived in the Triangle for some time now and love it. We’re connected to the community and wanted to bring Chronic Tacos to North Carolina. We personally love tacos and were inspired by the vision Randy has with his company.”
Chronic Tacos features authentic, third generation family recipes with menu items that are always made from fresh, flavorful ingredients. It’s the place you head to when you want your taco or burrito fix, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Chronic Tacos offers over 5 carnivore and herbivore friendly protein options and a slew of ways to dress up your taco, burrito or bowl-rito. From freshly shredded cabbage to crumbled cotija cheese, this place is the real deal.
Sean invited us to the soft opening where we indulged in carne asada and pollo asado bowl-ritos. All of the meat was cooked to order, minutes before it made its way to our bowls. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it made a big difference on taste when it wasn’t dry from sitting in a hotel pan for who knows how long. As we made our way down the line, it was awesome to see the assortment of fresh toppings we could add: guacamole, cilantro, chopped onion, shredded cabbage and a variety of salsas and cheeses, too.
Although the soft opening was jam-packed, there’s no doubt Chronic Tacos will do well given its proximity to UNC’s campus. Their prices are comparable to Chipotle, Qdoba or Moe’s. However, I would say Chronic Tacos has the one-up on the others in terms of their ways to customize your entrée with the multitude of salsas and fresh veggies. Along with the momentum of their opening and the enthusiasm of Sean and his team, Chronic Tacos is here to stay in North Carolina.
Tessa Nguyen is a chef and registered dietitian working in the Triangle area. She is an alumna of Johnson & Wales University and Meredith College. When Tessa isn’t traveling and discovering new food spots, she teaches culinary nutrition cooking classes at Duke and works as a consultant in the health and wellness industry. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter @