Texas restaurant company plans local expansion

Concepts were spun out of NY chain earlier this year

A publicly traded Texas holding company for two restaurant concepts plans to launch into Tennessee by opening a location in Smyrna next year.

As part of their third-quarter earnings report, Fiesta Restaurant Group executives on Tuesday said they plan to spend about $50 million to open 14 to 17 new stores in 2013. Among them will be the entry of their Pollo Tropical concept into the Nashville area. Details about the timeframe for opening the restaurant, how many people it will employ and potential plans for other stores were not available at publication time. Company representatives could not be contacted Tuesday.

Pollo Tropical's Caribbean-inspired menu includes a salsa bar, flame-grilled chicken and wings, and ribs and roast pork, among other offerings. The company's first store opened its doors in Miami in 1988.

Fiesta was spun out earlier this year from Syracuse-N.Y.-based Carrols Restaurant Group and is now valued at about $350 million (Ticker: FRGI) by investors. The company runs 90 Pollo Tropical restaurants and franchises another 35 locations in the United States and in Central and South America. It also owns or has franchised 165 Taco Cabana eateries, most of them in Texas.

Fiesta is the latest in a series of regional restaurant chains that have targeted Middle Tennessee for growth. In recent months, Atlanta-based Taqueria del Sol said it will move into 12South, while seafood chain Boneheads, East Coast Wings & Grill and Huddle House all have said they each plan to build a handful of area locations in coming years.