Fifty years have come and gone since Del Taco was born in sunny California, the cradle of fast-food civilization, and the company is celebrating its big five-O with some keen retro menu items -- including something with a bun that could, maybe, possibly resemble an old-school Taco Bell favorite that should have made a comeback years ago.
Well-played, Del Taco. Maybe now Taco Bell will rise to the competition and bring back one of its greatest retro menu items ever: the Bell Beefer.
Del Taco began in Yermo, California in the summer of 1964, the baby of Ed Hackmarth and David Jameson. The original tacos cost nineteen cents, and the first location made a profit of $169 its first day in business. The 1970s saw steady growth for the Mexican-American fast-food chain, with 100 stores by 1978, as well as a new menu item --- the "bun taco," which consisted of seasoned beef, hand-grated cheddar cheese, lettuce and a tomato slice packed into a sesame seed bun.
The original Del Taco bun taco bears a striking resemblance to an old-timey Taco Bell favorite: the Bell Beefer, which was offered on the menu from the mid-'70s until the mid-'90s, and consisted of taco meat, diced onions, shredded lettuce and mild sauce on a non-seeded bun. The Bell also made a Bell Beefer Supreme, which added diced tomatoes and shredded Cheddar cheese.
Del Taco's bun tacos are now available again, as part of its Throwback Classics menu, alongside other retro items meant to showcase Del's five-decade menu history, including a small taco salad -- seasoned beef, hand-grated Cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes and secret sauce served on a bed of lettuce and tortilla chips, and an orange-vanilla milkshake topped with whipped cream.
"We want to thank the generations of loyal customers that have supported us and have helped Del Taco grow over the past five decades," said John Cappasola, chief brand officer of Del Taco, in a recent release. "As we celebrate this significant milestone, we hope our 'Throwback Classics Menu' items will spark fond memories for our longtime guests, and engage new fans that will help us celebrate future milestones for years to come."
Here's hoping the re-release of the bun taco sparks a grand re-release of the Bell Beefer, which has remained a nostalgic favorite among those of us who would love to see Taco Bell go on a throwback classics kick as well.
And raising competitive hackles between the two chains could only be a win for customers. Which is tastier, Del Taco's bun taco or the Bell Beefer? It would be pretty friggin' awesome to find out.
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Del Taco now has has 546 restaurants in 17 states. During this fiftieth anniversary celebration, consumers can receive coupons for free food by "liking" Del Taco on Facebook or joining the Raving Fan eClub at DelTaco.com/RavingFan. For more information, visit deltaco.com.