A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 29, 2011
Taco Hell (Taco Bell nickname)

Taco Bell fast food restaurants have been nicknamed “Taco Hell” since at least the 1980s. The nickname comes from the inexpensive ingredients used to make the food (the opposite of food “heaven"), not the Scoville scale spicy heat of the food (where “hell” can mean “hot as hell").

Other Taco Bell nicknames include “Taco Smell” (cited in print since at least 1990), “Toxic Hell” (also since at least 1990) and “Toxic Smell” (since at least 1994).


Wikipedia: Taco Bell
Taco Bell is an American chain of fast-food restaurants based in Irvine, California. A subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., it specializes in Mexican-style food. Taco Bell serves tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, other specialty items, and a variety of “Value Menu” items. Taco Bell serves more than 2 billion consumers each year in more than 5,800 restaurants in the U.S., more than 80 percent of which are owned and operated by independent franchisees.

Urban Dictionary
taco hell
Derogatory form of Taco Bell. Refers to the fact that the company uses low-quality ingredients and has been found using non-food-grade, genetically-engineered corn in its tortillas.
Look, a taco hell! I’m glad I’m not eating there...
by cazort Aug 27, 2003

Google Groups: alt.drugs
Newsgroups: alt.drugs
From: (Stan Zukowski)
Date: 7 Jul 89 17:47:11 GMT
Local: Fri, Jul 7 1989 12:47 pm
Subject: Recognizing liquid acid

One, I was zooming on 3 grams of some very palatable shrooms (although we had to buy some Taco Hell burritos in which to stuff them, lacking any soup-making apparatus) and could barely recognize my best friend standing next to me. 

Google Groups: rec.humor
Newsgroups: rec.humor
From: (Rawhide)
Date: 10 Oct 90 01:24:03 GMT
Local: Tues, Oct 9 1990 8:24 pm
Subject: Re: Foodonyms

>Taco Smell = Taco Bell

Taco Hell = Taco Bell
(ever eat there?? You’re in hell by the time your food arrives!)

Google Books
Zapata Rose in 1992 & other tales
By Gary D. Keller; Arizona State University. Hispanic Research Center.
Colorado Springs, CO: Maize Press; Tempe, AZ: Distributed by Bilingual Review Press Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University
1992
Pg. 126:
When Hidalgo explained his “Taco Hell” analogy to Gorditor, the latter thought about it for a moment and laughed.

18 August 1992, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “It’s Dope, So Chill For the Young, Slang’s ‘Mad’ New Words Are Straight Off the Streets of Los Angeles” by Anne C. Roark, View, pg. 1:
Taco Hell is Taco Bell.

Google Books
From Abba to Zoom:
A pop culture encyclopedia of the late 20th century

By David Mansour
Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Pub.
2005
Pg. 477:
Also known as Taco Hell and Taco Smell.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRestaurants/Bars/Bakeries/Food Stores • Tuesday, March 29, 2011 • Permalink