The 80's Fast Food Taco Chain You Probably Forgot About

While people might love their Chalupa or crave that Big Mac, not every popular fast food chain still has the crown perched upon their head. Even though it might seem as if there is a drive through on every corner and tacos can be ordered at the push of a button, the reality is that one particular fast food taco chain is a distant memory and can't be rebooted like those 80s movies. Do you remember Pup N' Taco?

According to Eat This, Not That!, Pup "N' Taco was a popular southern California quick service restaurant. When it opened in 1956, the brand's founder, Russ Wendell, took an un-traditional approach to his menu. In addition to hot dogs, the menu included tacos. At the time, the addition of tacos was a game changer, as opposed to the integral part of the fast food lexicon it is today. While hot dogs and tacos were the big draw, the menu also featured slushies and pastrami sandwiches (via Yesterday In America) One of the big draws to the restaurant chain was the inexpensive menu items and the variety. 

Over the years, Pup 'N' Taco grew to over 100 locations in both California and New Mexico, but the brand was bought out by Taco Bell in the 1980s. Even though the Pup 'N' Taco jingle sang of a "tummy treat," it seems that the only dog remaining from that 80s time capsule requires a run to the border.

How did Russ Wendell impact pop culture food history?

While the name Wendell might not be as well known as Ray Kroc, William Rosenberg, or Vernon Rudolph, Wendell has a huge impact on the importance of visuals for restaurant brands. Although his brand Pup 'N' Taco was sold to Taco Bell in the 1980s (via Eat This, Not That!), his most iconic brand image is still part of pop culture food history. It's the iconic large donut that is still shown in television and movies today. 

According to the LA Conservancy, that giant donut design was created by "Henry J. Goodwin as the second of ten locations for Russell C. Wendell's now-defunct Big Donut Drive-In chain." While the name now says Randy's, the originator was Wendell. That big visual stood as a beacon to entice consumers to drive by and grab a donut. Over the years, that larger than life donut continues to be a tourist destination. Although other brand's might use a red light as a calling card, Wendell created a donut idea that has stood the test of time.