Taco Bell has been my go-to destination to satisfy my late-night cravings for years. YEARS.
In high school, I would periodically send that one a.m. “You up?” text to my FWWIGT, or my Friends with Whom I Got Tacos. The three of us would cram in my two-door 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo and make the 15.8 mile trek to the Rochester, Minnesota, Taco Hut (a Taco Bell that sold various Pizza Hut menu items. Talk about thinking outside the bun). Typically I would order three soft shell tacos the correct way (without lettuce—don’t @ me), as well as breadsticks. Delicious food and great friends. Life was easy. I cherish those memories from my younger years.
When I came up to MSUM in the fall of 2015, I knew I had to find the nearest branch of the fast food establishment I grew up with. Soon after my first welcome week, I came across one of the five Taco Bells in the Fargo-Moorhead area and the only one in Moorhead. In fact, it was only 0.8 miles from my dorm. That was quite the improvement from my time in southeast Minnesota.
Naturally, my first visit was in the late stages of the evening. I am a creature of habit. The locals may use a different area code, but my cravings travel with me. I was not anticipating that this Taco Bell would exceed my expectations, but I was hoping my experience would be comparable.
What I found could only be described with one word: disappointment.
The light in the sign was off. No cars were in the parking lot. The hope was gone from my heart.
Originally, I gave the eatery on Eighth Street the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the only manager that could work that night had a family emergency and had to close their doors for the night. I didn’t know. Yes, I was bummed, but I was anxious for my return trip.
A week later, I made that trip a little earlier in the evening. To my excitement, they were open. Well, cars were in the drive-thru. Yes, the Moorhead Taco Bell was open, but to say they were open for business would be a stretch.
I was the next car to order when I positioned my car in line. From that point in Rochester, a three-minute wait would be about average. From that point in Moorhead, I waited almost a half hour. A HALF HOUR FOR THREE TACOS. They didn’t even have breadsticks.
I wish I could say those two trips to the local Taco Bell were outliers, but I can’t. Over the last few years, I, along with many of my friends, have had countless sour experiences.
The worst one to note has been burned in my memory. I once stopped there at 6:30 p.m., but there was not a soul around. There were two other cars parked in their lot, but they were filled with like-minded potential customers with faces as puzzled as mine. All we wanted was Taco Bell for dinner. Is that too much to ask?
Tl;dr: Moorhead Taco Bell. Either go all-in, or get out. Your choice. I’m sick of eating McDonald’s at one in the morning.