Taco Bell Has Become A Staple
Taco Bell has always been a popular fast food restaurant in America. Even in San Diego where I grew up it is extremely popular despite being the home to the best Mexican food in the USA. Over the years they have constantly improved and have shown a penchant for innovation and constantly striving to improve the overall experience for their patrons. They have one of the best test kitchens of all fast food restaurants and have put out some really great menu items over they years. They are certainly not all winners but unlike many other competitors they don’t seem to linger on unsuccessful new dishes. They give them enough time to shine if they can. and then if not, quickly move on to new candidates.
Mexican Inspired Food
They do not carry the Mexican food designation which is a good self realization to have. Taco Bell is clearly not traditional Mexican food. Taco Bell may be the epitome of what happens when American’s take Mexican food and turn it into their own. That certainly is not an insult unless you are not a fan of modern burritos which were invented in northern Mexico but exploded in popularity in America. My favorite, the California Burrito made almost exclusively in San Diego, certainly looks nothing like its roots. French Fries were certainly not used in burritos when they were invented in northern Mexico.
Taco Bell Restaurants Are Everywhere
Even on the east coast there has been an explosion of Taco Bell restaurants. For all of you New Yorkers one of my favorite Taco Bell restaurants can be seen above with a window in a dive bar right down the street from Yankee stadium. While the invent of the Taco Bell Cantina has been a game changer and added alcohol and beer to the menu you just can’t compete with the availability of Taco Bell while also having access to a whole bar menu.
Taco Bell Cantina
Speaking of which, Taco Bell was one of the early adopters of a higher end restaurant that also serves beer and mixed drinks. If you are looking to get a good old fashioned while you stuff your face with delicious tacos you will be out of luck. However, the addition of a good IPA while devouring a stack of burritos can certainly be achieved. While the Taco Bell Cantina has struggled in some places in the US it has really come into its own in the endlessly walkable NYC. Most of the free-standing Taco Bells in the city have been converted to Cantinas and they are often packed. Not all ideas will work in all locations, especially for a brand that is famously often a drive-thru experience. Regardless, in NYC and other large cities where a drive-thru is not practical or popular the Cantina really shines.
Taco Bell Order
Fast food chains are not known for their organization or often cleanliness. It is an extremely high turn over business so keeping everything in order is always a challenge. In my experience Taco Bell really leads the pack in this category. I have often walked into a branch and been surprised with how well put together it is. While you certainly still have the odd patron leaving their trash everywhere and overworked employees working tirelessly to get people their food as fast as possible, it is always refreshing when you walk into a restaurant to see all of their condiments facing the same direction and neatly stacked for your perusing pleasure.
Not Your Average Restaurant
There are so many reasons why Taco Bell stands out as a leader in the fast food category. They are one of the largest brands in the category and in my opinion under appreciated. The next time you have a hankering for a deliciously crispy hard taco or a delightful bean and cheese burrito make sure you stop by your local Taco Bell. It may not be comparable to the epic local Mexican joints in Southern California but they certainly are not serving the same type of food. If you are somewhere far away from the border and looking for a bit more crunch, Taco Bell will certainly not disappoint.