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RIP – Glen Bell

January 20th, 2010

This week the world lost a fast-food icon, Glen Bell.

Unlike Ray Kroc, who brought McDonalds to the world, Glen Bell was less well known. When everyone was trying to duplicate the success of McDonalds by opening a myriad of hamburger stands, Glen Bell differentiated himself by opening up a one of the first fast food Mexican restaurants.

Forty-seven years later, they’re one of the most successful fast food companies in history.

When I first bought my condo in Mira Mesa, I knew I had truly moved to suburbia. Every major chain and fast food restaurant was within a mile. Chili’s, El Torito, Red Lobster, Black Angus, McDonalds, Subway and Pizza Hut were blocks away. And of course, no fast food Mecca would be complete without a Taco Bell.

The Mira Mesa Taco Bell was right next to the High School, and was a popular after-school hangout. This mostly had to do with the fact that it was amazingly cheap.

The irony is that in order to chase off loitering kids, they put up a sign saying, “You must spend at least $1.50 to sit at our tables”. Even more ironic is the fact that you could buy a drink and a taco and not reach $1.50.

There are many examples of “Food that is tasty, even though its nothing like its name.” For instance, the apple pie at McDonalds looks almost, but not quite, completely unlike apple pie. If you think of it as apple pie, you’ll be sadly disappointed. If you think of it as a tasty, fried, block of sugar, you’ll be quite happy.

Taco Bell is to Mexican food, what McDonalds is to apple pie. It doesn’t remotely resemble Mexican food, but it’s still really good! Did you know that the “Taco Shell” as we know it was invented by Glen Bell?

Glen Bell leaves behind a legacy of good food at very reasonable prices. He introduced middle America to Mexican food in a way that was delicious and non-threatening.

Thank you Glen for almost five decades of fast food goodness!

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