Early Taco Bell restaurants only offered 5 courses, and most are no longer on the menu

(NEXSTAR) – The very first Taco Bell location was no bigger than a two-car garage. There was no indoor seating, there was no drive-thru, and there were definitely no Doritos Locos Tacos, supreme or otherwise.

It did, however, have several menu items not found anywhere among Taco Bell’s current offerings, including a “chili burger.”

Glen Bell, the chain’s founder, opened his first Taco Bell in Downey, California in 1962. Bell had previously operated a number of fast food restaurants in the 1950s, including Bell’s Drive-In and Taco Tia , but he was contemplating something. quite different for Taco Bell. Specifically, he came up with the idea for a small walk-in taco stand surrounded by “shops, live music, and fire pits,” according to Taco Bell.

The resulting restaurant, with its foyers and a rear entertainment area, bore little resemblance to today’s Taco Bells. There was also a walk-in window – and only a walk-in window – where customers could order whatever they wanted, as long as they wanted one of the five menu items.

Kermit Becky, the first Taco Bell franchisee, stands under one of the first Taco Bell menus. (Taco Bell Corp.)

Taco Bell’s first official menu offered frijoles, tostados, chili burgers, burritos (red or green), and tacos, all for 19 cents each. Each of these items remained well into the 1970s as Bell and its franchisees expanded the chain across California and beyond.

Of course, there have been a few changes along the way. In a photo of the restaurant’s airy menu from around the early ’70s, prices had jumped to 25 cents. “Tostados” also became “tostadas” and “chili burgers” gave way to “Bellburgers”, which were described as containing ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes and a “famous” Taco Bell sauce .

Taco Bell restaurants only offered a handful of menu items in their early years. (Taco Bell Corp.)

Many of these items have persisted for decades in one form or another, but today only tacos and burritos remain from the first Taco Bell menu, and even these have evolved from their original incarnations.

But not everything has changed. The original Taco Bell restaurant, which closed in 1986, is still intact after being saved from demolition and relocated to Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine, California. (Good luck ordering a chili burger, though.)

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