Saturday, February 4, 2023

Taco Time


Seattle Mag - "Washington’s Great Taco Time Divide"

"I arrived in Seattle 13 years ago, and even as a food writer, the chain never hit my radar as anything noteworthy. Sure, I drove past the gaudy mirrored location in Wallingford. Even ate at the Interbay one with a friend who’s a diehard fan. But Taco Time does little to stand out to folks who aren’t already familiar. For newcomers, these restaurants fade into a landscape crowded with other drive-thrus. Not to mention Del Tacos, Blue Water Taco Grills, and the ultimate in soulless Mexican food, Taco Bell. A white guy named Glen Bell founded that chain in a Los Angeles suburb in 1962—the same year a white guy named Frank Tonkin Sr. debuted the first Taco Time Northwest here in White Center. According to family legend, customers didn’t know how to pronounce their signature menu item, ordering them as “tay-cos.”"


"The usual, of course, was Taco Time. When he’s stateside, Coté eats chicken soft tacos and crisp burritos just about every week. His level of fandom once earned him a spot in one of the restaurant’s ad campaigns. In July 2018 he embarked on a project—which he calls simply “the quest”—to visit all 77 Taco Time Northwest locations.

The journey began when Taco Time introduced an app, and with it, the ability to see your purchase history. Coté had already logged about 10 locations, just going about his life. Today he keeps a meticulous spreadsheet that records details of his official visits—69 and counting. The rules: He must go inside to order and, ideally, eat in the dining room. Drive-thrus don’t count."

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