Let it not be said that southern California has no sense of history.
The very first Taco Bell restaurant—a cultural landmark whose legacy includes the Fiery Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme and the nutritionally dubious “Fourth Meal”—has been saved from the wrecking ball and granted the permanent shrine it deserves.
On Thursday night (Nov. 18), the 400 sq. ft building in Downey, California, will be loaded onto a truck and transported 45 miles to Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine. A webcam is tracking the move.
Entrepreneur Glen Bell opened the walk-up taco shack in 1962 in Downey, southeast of central Los Angeles. Downey is also home to the oldest surviving McDonald’s, making the city essentially the colonial Williamsburg of fast food.
By the time the original location shuttered in 1986, Taco Bell was on its way to becoming a global purveyor of addictive Mexican-inspired fast food that no abuelita would recognize (the Steak and Potato Boss Wrap is not, in fact, a traditional Mexican dish).
Taco Bell now has more than 6,000 US stores and 300 international locations in 20 countries, according to the company.
Independent fast food restaurants moved into the Downey building, dubbed “Numero Uno” in company lore. When the last tenant closed up last year, the property owners announced their intention to redevelop the site. Taco-historians stepped in.
“We owe that to our fans,” Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol told Los Angeles magazine.“We owe that to Glen Bell.”