District Taco's first Maryland location will open in Riverdale Park on Monday.
The D.C.-based Mexican restaurant chain, which started as a food truck in 2009, has 11 other locations in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C. District Taco will join Whole Foods, MOD Pizza, Starbucks and Jersey Mike's Subs, which is opening soon, at Riverdale Park Station.
On opening day, the store will give its first 100 customers in line at the new location a meal on the house as well as "District Taco swag," the restaurant's Marketing Manager Abby Campbell said.
University of Maryland students will also receive a 25 percent discount with their student IDs during exam week, from Dec. 12 to 19, Campbell added.
District Taco Regional Manager Steve Lalka said he expects to see a mix of both residents and students at the chain's newest location.
"We should see families, we should see people from work getting lunch, see students camp out with the free Wi-Fi all day," Lalka said.
Every seat in the restaurant is within arm's reach of an outlet, Lalka said, so students could use the restaurant as a meeting space.
"There's a lot of people who have been waiting for this for a long time," Campbell said.
A portion of the grand opening profits will go to Extra-Ordinary Birthdays, a College Park-based organization that provides support for homeless children and their families by throwing them birthday parties.
"For every grand opening, we choose a local organization to give back to," Campbell said.
Several students said they were excited about the opening.
Senior government and politics major Darren Schweibel said he had his best taco at one of the chain's stores in Washington, D.C.
Senior communications major Max Hooker went with Schweibel to the new District Taco location on Friday. Hooker said they were invited to a soft opening event by the company after he emailed the company expressing his excitement for the opening.
"I'm excited to have it close to College Park," Hooker said.
Customers can often get a meal at District Taco for less than $10, Campbell said. The restaurant has a varied, customizable menu that includes tacos, burritos, quesadillas and more, as well as all-day breakfast.
Lalka said District Taco's shrimp and fish tacos are the most popular menu items because of their unique flavor.
Kellie Martin, a senior mechanical engineering major, said she had never heard of District Taco before but would make the trip to Riverdale Park Station to try it out.
"I like tacos a lot," she said. "If a new taco place opens up, I'll probably try it."
The restaurant's food is prepared fresh daily without preservatives and has gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options, Lalka said. District Taco also uses recyclable and energy-efficient materials whenever possible.
"Every time we open it gets better," Lalka said. "We're growing really, really aggressively."
CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story incorrectly stated that District Taco will give its first 100 customers in line at the new location "District Taco swag," such as gift cards, socks, shirts and water bottles. This story has been updated.