Did you know the first Taco Bell restaurant in the world was built right here in Downey? Did you know the building now sits empty and may be soon penciled in for destruction?
Exactly, you knew nothing (nothing I say!).
Ok, first, some history.
Taco Bell founder Glen Bell opened the first location of his now iconic restaurant chain at 7112 Firestone Blvd in March 1962, but ultimately Taco Bell left the building and over the past few years a restaurant called Seafood and Tacos Raul (which apparently wasn’t terrible) was actually using the structure to house its business.
However, Seafood and Tacos Raul closed their doors at the end of December, and the now-vacant building is currently fenced off, a likely target for demolition according to a news release by the a Downey Conservancy, a local preservation group.
It’s not immediately clear what a timeline might be for tearing down the building, other than the urgency being created the preservation group, but because of the historical value of the site the Conservancy wants to look at possible relocation of the building if the site itself can’t be saved.
The effort to save the original Taco Bell is part of a larger historical preservation movement, per the Downey Patriot:
“The National Trust for Historic Preservation has an ongoing program called ‘This Place Matters.’ Those involved in the preservation of historic sites know that once an important building is lost, it’s gone forever. This community has shown, in cases such as Harvey’s (now, Bob’s Big Boy) Broiler and the oldest operating Mc Donald’s, that these places matter. The Downey Conservancy hopes that, in the case of the original Taco Bell building, once again, “this place matters.”