It’s the week of the fourth of July. And while we appreciate having you here, we really hope it’s from some sandy stretch or some body of water relaxing enough that your problems can be put on the same kind of ice as the booze in the cooler next to you. If not, cast your shade anyway, and join us for our week-long package, “Life’s a Beach,” a celebration of all things sand, sun, and summer. Of course, if you’re already on vacation, you’re welcome too—just be sure to reapply another layer of sunscreen, as these pieces burn shiny. Read all of them here.
Pacifica is located along the west coast of the Gulf of California, and the shoreline is bordered by houses that snake down the hill and all the way to the water’s edge.
There are only about 37,000 people living here, but breaking waves attract all ocean lovers, who drive here to enjoy the old world aesthetics of Pacifica. But while the beach is the main attraction, the place is worth seeing it all from: the backyard of the most beautiful Taco Bell in the world, from which you can gaze at an uninterrupted view of the sea and sun, stretching to an infinity of horizon.
Even on a day with gray skies and chill in the breeze, it’s almost a hallucinatory experience to sit here and eat Doritos and Locos tacos and watch a swarm of novice surfers get battered in one-foot-high waves. I take a long sip of frozen Mountain Dew Baja Blast, treated with two ounces of vodka and served in a yard-long plastic bowl that vaguely resembles a weapon. A strong wind blows sand near my feet. Gulls hover in the sky in search of leftovers to hunt.
I have a lot of experience trying out oceanfront hangouts – that’s what happens if you’re lucky enough to grow up in Hawaii. But this is as legit as anything in recent memory, and it elicits a chuckle when I open another can of fire sauce. Does not make sense. It shouldn’t be real. Someone could have sold this Taco Bell to be demolished in favor of some gaudy looking temple of fortune. But they didn’t.
Instead, the building has largely remained untouched since it was built sometime in the 1960s, initially as an A&W franchise before moving to Taco Bell two decades later. Its quirky location, modern design, and classic salt-stained wood siding have made it an unofficial Northern California landmark for locals and anyone passing along the Pacific Coast Highway.
Despite the obvious advantages, the location was not exactly Busy In terms of actual sales, at least when compared to other franchises in the area. This became a focus when the site was taken over in 2014 by its current operator, DRG, who decided to shell out more than $1 million in a revamp that debuted in the summer of 2019.
“It was due to be redesigned based on the requirements of the Taco Bell franchise. We have just opened two successful cantinas elsewhere, particularly the one on the Las Vegas Strip – the largest in size Taco Bell in the world,” says Raoul Lippi, Senior Vice President Services Operations in the DRG. “Based on what we’ve learned, our property group has realized, that the Pacifica site is basically a property like no other, so we really need to move forward with the redesign with a ‘do it right or don’t do it at all’ mindset.”
This meant an old, retro interior of the Southwest and in a more modern look it didn’t look out of place in a nearby house. A mural by San Francisco artist Nora Brune is on the ceiling, along with plenty of dark hardwood and teal accents. A double-sided glass fireplace provides warmth and ambient light. The entire back deck of the restaurant was finally allowed to be used, allowing people to take tacos, beer, and quirky, neon-colored freezer outside and dine while watching the tide.
These efforts transformed the already famous Taco Bell into the platonic ideal of trying fast food on the seaside — all of which helped spark a viral phenomenon online, attracting a host of new fans. “We’ve had weddings, and booked a full wedding for September. We’ve also hosted private parties for a wide variety of organizations that want a more elaborate venue than City Hall or something,” says James Aman, who oversees many Taco Bell Catenas. As an area coach at DRG. This included the graphic designers who worked on it the matrix [Resurrections]And the Bachelorette parties, a Stanford graduation party, an event for a lucky San Jose Sharks fan through our partnership with the team and even a live radio broadcast last month.”
Libby says Pacifica is now making three times as much sales as it did before the redesign, and I can see why. Even on a midweek afternoon, the crowd was bustling with life, gathering families, couples, and tourists with the promise of cold drinks and affordable food. A group of children gather around a table in the courtyard, pointing and laughing at surfers in the water chewing a cheese quesadilla. Three women snapped selfies while standing with their slushies. Another couple sat quietly sipping a beer and overlooking the water, perhaps finding a quiet moment in the middle of a busy day.
“I love it. Actually, we live in the city, for our little escape if we’re going to Santa Cruz or Half Moon Bay or something, we always make that stop,” says Tom, 44, a San Francisco resident. , It’s a unique place.” This is my third time here, and I think it has to do with the view, obviously, but how quirky It’s our Taco Bell on the beach.”
Perhaps that’s why Taco Bell Cantina in Pacifica seems to have an allure of its own, drawing people in from a distance. I remember the first time ever saw This location, while driving backwards from a height in the hills along the coast; I made a promise to come back. Now that I’m back for a full meal and many more affordable adult drinks, it’s hard to imagine how Taco Bell no To be a regular stopping point on my list. until the food It tasted better. “It’s as if their A-Team is working in the kitchen at this location,” my girlfriend said.
This could just be an illusion, spawned by the romance of beach dining, with a continuous 180-degree view of California’s splendor. I know in my mind that at the end of the day, there is something almost ironic about a fast food joint taking up space amidst this natural beauty.
But my heart can’t help but be fascinated by how likely this Taco Bell story is, given that obscure fast-food restaurants are supposed to be crammed into messy, dusty malls. In a parallel world not too far from this universe, the property was sold a long time ago. Thanks to God and mince, it has remained a place of public gathering – a temple of modesty in taste and cost, open to all regardless of class or creed. All of this is remarkable given that the ocean frontier in modern America is a never-ending battlefield, whether it’s battles over access to public beaches, questions about environmental destruction or the gross materiality of the wealthy, who build vulgar monuments of transgression under the guise of human habitation.
Standing up to all that is a bistro in a quiet California beach town, complete with a surfboard stand and contagious energy for people who, just like me, can’t believe how much fun they ever have is Taco Bell’s beautiful Taco Bell in the world.