This week’s Thirsty Thursday drives us to explore the unexplored fast food territory that is Taco Bell Cantinas. Is it really up to its grand hype?
Before I dive into this Thirsty Thursday column, I have a personal confession to make — I am not a huge Taco Bell fan (it does happen). Don’t get me wrong, I like my Taco Supremes at certain opportune times, but rarely have I been caught by anyone living and breathing saying “Man, I really want some freakin’ Taco Bell right now!”
It is this sentiment and other fast food eaters who share in my sentiment, that I personally believe drove the fast food chain to create the Taco Bell Cantina, an upscale offshoot of its regular restaurants that are designed with the goal of changing the mindset of the average skeptic.
For anyone unfamiliar with this more upscale version of the fast food chain, the Taco Bell Cantinas have a “Starbucks-like” vibe, with seating areas that encourage chilling out with friends, super-fancy slushy machines, see-through kitchens, and the most important feature of all — alcohol.
Yes, the Taco Bell Cantina is more than the average Taco Bell (I feel as if I’ve established that already). Instead, these restaurants aim to be a full-on bar, complete with draft beers, wine, and “twisted” versions of their popular drinks. I have to give credit where credit is due, Taco Bell really went out of their way to offer its customers and critics a different experience than the typical sit-down, staid fast food experience. (Although it is weird to think of fast food restaurants as being staid experiences.)
Granted, most of the big fast food chains are trying to make their restaurants more appealing, but I feel as if Taco Bell actually did it better than its competitors by offering a more adult atmosphere. One could say that they actually ripped off this idea from the likes of Taco Cabana, a legendary Texas-based cantina that has long served alcoholic beverages in its restaurants (which makes it a favorite of mine), and one wouldn’t be wrong in that assessment.
However, Taco Cabana isn’t everywhere, and tacos and beer are a special pairing that many fast food eaters should experience. So kudos to Taco Bell for bringing this experience to a wider audience of food lovers.
What do you think of alcohol at Taco Bell? Would you want to drink any type of alcohol at a fast food restaurant? If yes, is there another restaurant you think would benefit from adding liquor to the menu? Tell us what you think in the comments.