Mourning Mexican Pizzas? Del Taco Is Here For Emotional Support

Food & Drink

Something about Taco Bell seems to inspire strong emotions.

I still remember the first time I went to Taco Bell. I was probably 5 years old, arm in a cast from a hubristic encounter with a towering jungle gym. It was dark out when we pulled up to the drive-thru, where there were neon ads for Star Wars toys out the car window. I can picture the hazy light-pollution glow of the menu that night. I know I ordered a Mexican pizza—it was my go-to order for years afterward. That crunchy-soggy-salty mess of a food was pure joy. The last time I had one—during an interminable bus ride to Boston for Thanksgiving in 2019—the one bright spot in the day was that shock of edible nostalgia.

So you can imagine my disappointment last year when I found out that my childhood favorite had been eliminated from the menu—albeit for an admirable reason—the paperboard used to package it reportedly created more than 7 million pounds of waste per year.

Luckily, if you’re feeling the same sense of loss I did (like the 160,000 people who’ve signed a petition to bring it back), Del Taco is here to ease your woes.

Tapping into the rampant online dating phenomenon of ghosting and the Mexican pizza’s nostalgic longevity on their competitor’s menu, Del Taco has rolled out the most hilarious retro fast food promotion in recent memory. If you call 1 (877) 3-GHOSTED before 5/20, you’ll receive a promo code for Del Taco’s new line of Crunchtadas along with words of encouragement from an actual real live human being.

According to Del Taco CMO Tim Hackbardt, they were inspired in large part by Taco Bell’s silence: “The concept of ghosting has been [prevalent] throughout the digital age, and it just seemed pretty natural that since there was this big outcry and the product hasn’t come back, that, ‘Hey, we’ll take care of you. The Del will fight for you.’”

Del Taco developed the new line of Crunchtadas, a menu item that Hackbardt has always appreciated because it “continues to do well, even though you don’t necessarily promote it” last year, but decided to wait to introduce them for the right cultural moment. He stressed, however, that, “We did not try to replicate the competitor’s Mexican pizza. What we actually tried to do is offer the guest more choice.”

Their new product offering includes a vegetarian Crunchtada with homemade beans and cheese, a ground beef option with “our signature queso on it,” and a chicken Crunchtada with guacamole (Hackbardt stressed that Del Taco, “is the only Mexican QSR to make fresh guacamole from scratch.”)

I do not currently live in a part of the country where I have access to Del Taco, so I can’t speak to the Crunchtada’s taste myself, but based on the in-depth posts from r/fastfood and the 4.8K members of the Del Taco subreddit have anything to say about it, the place inspires just as much fervor and customer loyalty as any other Mexican drive-thru.

Who knows, maybe the next kid to try one will develop their own sense of nostalgia.

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