Why Indian Americans Deserve Credit For Resurrecting Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza

Indian Americans have a long history of loving Taco Bell, starting back in the '80s. According to HuffPost, from 1980 to 1999, the number of Indian immigrants living in the U.S. increased by about 400%. At the time, the U.S. had few Indian restaurants, grocery stores, or affordable vegetarian options. That left immigrants with few choices beyond fast food, but the famously beef-heavy menus at places like McDonald's did not coincide with the Hindu belief system. Enter Taco Bell, where you could substitute beans for beef upon request (via The Takeout).

Rima Parikh describes in The Takeout that meatless Taco Bell items still capture the spirit of the menu, unlike disappointingly bland vegetarian meals at other chains. Plus, per Foodbeast, options like chalupas often remind Indian Americans of foods from home, such as roti with vegetables. An especially popular Taco Bell order among Indian Americans (before it was discontinued) was the Mexican Pizza — with beans instead of meat. When Taco Bell announced that it was removing the beloved staple from the menu in 2020, Indian American Krish Jagirdar started an online petition in hopes of saving it, and a celebrity also got involved.

A petition to Save the Mexican Pizza got nearly 200,000 signatures

Like many other restaurants during the height of the pandemic in 2020, the Mexican-inspired chain had to scale down its menu, and fans were in an outcry wondering why Taco Bell got rid of its Mexican Pizza. One especially vocal customer, Krish Jagirdar, decided to start a Change.org petition to bring it back because of the cultural significance the item has for the South Asian community.

"Like many Indian-Americans who grew up vegetarian, we had limited access to the 'fun' fast food, so Taco Bell became a bridge to belonging in American culture for many kids like me who grew up in immigrant households," Jagirdar elaborated in a Taco Bell press release. Two years after he started the petition, Taco Bell invited the superfan to a conference call to tell him that Mexican Pizza would be returning to the menu on May 19 of this year.

While the nearly 200,000 signatures surely made an impact, rapper Doja Cat was also part of the movement, posting on her social channels last year about her desire for Mexican Pizza's return. The chain listened and tapped her to write a verse about the menu item, which she recently shared on her TikTok. Following the good news, the "Kiss Me More" singer even changed her Twitter display name to "WE BROUGHT THE MEXICAN PIZZA BACK," which surely has Taco Bell fans forever grateful to her and the Indian American community for inspiring the return of this messy delight.