Here's Why Taco Bell's Burger Never Took Off

You make a run for the border when you need a break from a burger and fries, right? Because no matter how much you love a Quarter Pounder, with its juicy meat patty and soft, buttery bun, there are just days when instead, you want to hear that crunch of cracking taco shells between your jaws, and feel the heat of salsa spreading in your mouth. But did you know that Taco Bell actually served a burger for a years-long stint in the restaurant's 58-year-long existence? Similar in consistency to a Sloppy Joe, the Bell Beefer was added to TB's menu in the 1970s.

Initially introduced as a "chili burger" (via Spoon University) before getting its alliterative menu name, the Bell Beefer was essentially a hamburger bun containing taco meat, lettuce, diced onions, and Taco Bell mild sauce. You could upgrade your Bell Beefer by going "Supreme," which added diced tomatoes and three-cheese blend to the mix (per Mental Floss). The Daily Meal says a phaseout began in the 1980s when the company shifted entirely to selling Tex-Mex items while according to Mental Floss, it was discontinued in the mid-'90s. The Bell Beefer was removed from the menu because people weren't buying it. "It's the circle of life. The popular items stay around and the underperforming items get retired," former Taco Bell employee Shaun Quinn told Chowhound. The Bell Beefer in particular, he added, "just seems wrong" for a Tex-Mex style fast-food joint.

Some fans really miss the Bell Beefer

The last time you could buy a Bell Beefer at Taco Bell, Ronald Reagan was president and the Thighmaster was a popular way to exercise. But that doesn't mean people can't still taste that slightly sweet, mildly spicy taco burger in their mouth like the 1980s was yesterday. In fact, there's an entire Facebook page–followed by close to 5,000 people–called Taco Bell Please Bring back the Bell Beefer. Members of this group share copycat Bell Beefer recipes, and occasionally vent about new Taco Bell menu items that are not, indeed, the Bell Beefer. "Come on Taco Bell. Enough with the horrible breakfast in a waffle (who came up with that mess?) and Quesaritos! Bring back a real winner.... THE BELL BEEFER!!" the page posted in response to a 2014 update to TB's morning offerings. 

Mainly, though, members of this community mourn the passing of one of their favorite fast food indulgences of all time. "I remember the first time I went to a Taco Bell in Jupiter Beach FL in 1972 eating that and I loved it ever since. Tried to duplicate in in my kitchen ever since it vanished. To no avail. Bring it back PLEASE!!!!!" another fan posted. Other Bell Beefer fans have cut off all ties with TB, feeling bitter that they can no longer find their favorite sandwich. "Best thing Taco Bell ever made. Never ate there again once they took this away," noted one diner.