A Nightmare on Eighth Street
Moorhead Taco Bell Frustrates with Spotty Hours
BY AARON SIMMONS
Taco Bell has been my go-to destination to satisfy late-night cravings for years. YEARS.
In high school, I would periodically send that 1 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.
I honestly think I might love Taco Bell more than some of my extended family members
— john wick’s marketing agent (@whatamidylan) April 7, 2018
When I came up to MSUM in fall 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 drive time in southeast Minnesota.
Naturally, my first visit was in the late stages of the evening. I’m a creature of habit. The locals may use a different area code, but my cravings travel with me. I wasn’t 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, and it was dark inside. No cars were in the parking lot. The door was locked. The drive thru light was on, but nobody answered my hunger-filled food request.
The hope was gone from my heart.
Originally, I gave the alleged eatery on Eighth Street the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the only manager who could work that night had a family emergency and had to close its doors for the night. I didn’t know. Yes, I was bummed, but I was anxious for a return trip.
A week later, I made that trip a little earlier in the evening. To my excitement, it was open. Well, cars were in the drive-thru. Yes, the Moorhead Taco Bell was open, but to say it was open for business would be a stretch.
I positioned my car in line and I was the next car to order. 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 is burned in my memory. I once stopped there at 6:30 p.m., but there wasn’t a soul around. There were two other cars parked in the 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 1 in the morning.
(Aaron Simmons is a senior at MSUM majoring in multimedia journalism. Along with being the editor-in-chief of The Advocate, MSUM’s student newspaper, he plays guitar and sings at various bars and restaurants across Minnesota and North Dakota. His name is Aaron, and reviewing Taco Bell restaurants is his game. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)