If you grew up in SoCal, you already know a LOT about Del Taco, like the fact that it sells tacos. And... dels? Yeah, turns out you don't really know that much, which's why we've assembled this list of 13 kind of mind-blowing facts (three of which are about its SECRET MENU!!!).
1. The first-ever Del Taco opened in Yermo, CA in 1964
Where's Yermo? Good question: near San Bernardino. What else is in Yermo? Uh, not much. In 1968, the 15 freeway passed it by, closing nearly all the businesses, and apparently inspiring the entire story arc of Bates Motel.
2. Initially, tacos cost just 19 cents
And now, they're 59 cents. Inflation is the WORST!
3. One of the founders of Del Taco still works at... uh... Del Taco
Yep: this is Ed Hackbarth, and he is still behind the counter at their Barstow location. For real.
4. You can get the company's hot sauces delivered
True story: if you want a lifetime supply of Del Inferno, you can order it online. It's just $4.99 for 50 packets, which also includes a storage bucket... because pedestrian kitchen drawers are no place for 50 packets of Del Inferno.
5. The company opened its first drive-thru almost a decade before McDonald's did
Ed Hackbarth, you foreshadowing genius, you!
6. One Del Taco employee tried to branch out with his own Mexican chain called Naugles
Eventually, though, it was bought by -- you guessed it -- Del Taco. Naugles' slogan was, "Prepare food fresh, serve customer fast, keep place clean!" Right.
7. All the cheese is hand-grated
Some hapless employee actually sits there with a 40lb chunk 'o yellow cheddar and grates it every day. And then it melts into your quesadilla, and he is sad.
8. There's actually a secret menu item called the "Stoner Burrito"
Man, do they know their customers. This dude's only order-able by name in the Inland Empire, but when you get it, you'll feel like a genius. It's a 1/2-pound bean-and-cheese burrito-bohemoth with red sauce, special sauce, and crinkle-cut fries. If you order it anywhere else, you gotta just ask for those ingredients, which may be hard if you don't have any short-term memory left.
9. There's ANOTHER secret menu item!
It's called a Bun Taco, and it's basically their classic taco on a burger bun. So, yeah, also basically the best thing ever.
10. THERE'S A THIRD SECRET MENU ITEM!
Tell them to "go bold", and they'll just toss some fries and secret sauce onto whatever you ordered. No big.
11. The logo is meant to signify Del Taco's core ingredients
The yellow sun with green mountains and a red backdrop represent cheese (hand-grated, obviously!), lettuce, and tomatoes.
12. Del Taco was sued by the dudes who created Zorro
Back in the day, its mascot was a guy who rode horses, wore a giant hat, and had a face mask so you couldn't see his eyes. So, yeah, they didn't exactly win that battle.
13. Once the definitely-not-Zorro character was retired, the spokesman became "Del Taco Dan"...
... played by actor Gregg Binkley, who's now the star of Raising Hope. Who ever said a career in fast food wouldn't get you anywhere?
Sign up here for our daily LA email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun Los Angeles has to offer.
This story was originally published on 4/16/2014.