Photos: Original Taco Bell Goes South Of The Border (To Irvine)
The world's first Taco Bell was living up to its "Live Mas" slogan, as it made a 45-mile journey on a truck from Downey to Irvine last night after being saved from demolition.
There were about 50 people who gathered outside of Numero Uno, as the 53-year-old mission-style landmark is so endearingly called, at 7112 Firestone Boulevard in Downey to give it a proper sendoff, according to the L.A. Times. A Taco Bell food truck nearby was handing out free crunch tacos and bean and cheese burritos, satisfying people's need for fourth meals.
Like the star that Numero Uno is, the 400-square-foot building was lifted onto a truck, and six police cars followed it as it started its journey, the OC Register reports. Folks cheered "Viva Mexico!" and wooted as the building started its journey to the Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine. There were Taco Bell fans (who we imagine have also shamelessly fallen in love with the Doritos Locos Tacos like we have) in 20 cars following the building on its road trip that ended up taking about 3 hours and 20 minutes, traveling through cities like Norwalk, Cerritos and Anaheim.
Ethan Daigle and his mother, Stephanie noticed the truck carrying the structure on the road while they were leaving a Walmart in Orange County. "We thought it was a prison bus at first," Ethan told the Times. Stephanie added, "Like Hannibal Lecter or something."
When they figured out what was really happening, they followed Numero Uno and took some photos.
It may not have gotten the types of crowds the space shuttle Endeavor got when it made a three-day journey on L.A. streets in 2012, but it still was special in its own way.
"If they can move a space shuttle, we can move a 400-square-foot restaurant," Taco Bell spokesman Matt Prince told the Times.
Back in January, the fate of Numero Uno was in limbo, as fans were dismayed to find out that the building, which first opened in 1962 by founder Glen Bell, was set for the wrecking ball. It had been vacant since last December, and over the years had been occupied by other businesses. The Long Beach-based We Are The Next preservation group and the Downey Conservancy reached out to Taco Bell with plans to save the structure. Taco Bell decided to save the building and take it to its headquarters to be put in storage. Taco Bell says it will stay there until they they and the building's fans decide what to do with it, whether it become a museum or a working franchise.
Here are photos and videos of the sendoff: