The Original Taco Bell Building – Irvine, California - Gastro Obscura

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Gastro Obscura

The Original Taco Bell Building

Someone really, really wanted to save this fast-food icon from demolition.  

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Irvine, California, isn’t the place where the first Taco Bell opened (that would be Downey, a city about 30 miles northwest of Irvine), but Irvine has something a bit stranger to its name. Since 2015, a nondescript parking lot behind the Taco Bell headquarters has been the home of the original Taco Bell building.

Closed and at risk of being demolished in its original Downey location, “Taco Bell Numero Uno” was uprooted and driven down Interstate 5 to the Taco Bell headquarters, where it has sat locked and empty ever since. There’s been talk of eventually finding a new place to put it, but for now it occupies its humble patch of asphalt, resting silently in the shadow of the corporate behemoth that it spawned.

Know Before You Go

The Taco Bell rear parking lot is technically private property, but visitors can just drive into it, and there are no gates or guards. With that being said, there are also no signs to tell you where to find the original Taco Bell building. To get to the parking lot where the building is located, take the front entrance road at the Taco Bell headquarters and follow a counter-clockwise loop around the parking garage. Please be discreet, be respectful, and don't touch or try to enter the building. Be aware that the building is occasionally fully covered with tarp to protect it from inclement weather, so it may not be possible to see it if it's been raining.

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