An Open Letter to Taco John’s

Dear Taco John’s,

I am not a huge fan of fast food. Mostly because I don’t eat meat, which limits my options, plus greasy food makes my stomach hurt. Usually I am content to stop at places with decent vegetarian options, like Taco Bell or Jimmy John’s, or at least get a side from a burger joint.

But you, Taco John’s, are the exception. You are the third in a trifecta of restaurants I will avoid like the plague, because your entire menu is an insult— sides included. It’s one thing to tuck your vegetarian entrees into a cobwebbed corner of your menu, somewhere between the sides and utter obscurity. It’s another thing entirely to sneak ground beef into sides that should be a safe bet. Listen, even when I did eat meat, I still hated ground beef and I DON’T WANT IT IN MY QUESO. If you absolutely must include beef in your cheese dip, then at least put it on the menu. “Queso with beef.” Make “with beef” a smaller font size if that makes you feel better. But you have to have a warning. You don’t have to be an ass about it, Taco John’s. You don’t have to, and yet you are.

I think I know what your problem is, though. Maybe you’re a little butt hurt that you always come in second to your far superior fast food brother Taco Bell. Maybe you feel bad that their menu is more varied and more interesting, and they get to be included in all the jokes about stoners. Meanwhile you, forgotten little Taco John’s, sit in the corner. Alone. No one makes jokes about Taco John’s, unless it’s to point out that Taco Bell is just better.

So instead, you’ve decided to forge a new trail all on your own. You’re Mexican-inspired fast food with class, damn it. Right? You have fancy queso. No tater tots or french fries to be found on your menu— no, you have potato oles, whatever the hell those are supposed to be. You’ve reinvented yourself like Madonna in an attempt to trick hungry motorists into believing you’re a step up from Taco Bell. You’re the next big thing.

The problem with this is that it is a lie. Listen to me, Taco John’s. You are not classy. You are not a special snowflake. All you are is a fast food restaurant. And like every other fast food restaurant, your food is objectively terrible. It either tastes like trash or trashes your body. Sometimes both. The one and only difference between you and not just Taco Bell, but every other fast food joint in the country is that you won’t accept that. You can’t come to terms with the fact that your food sucks, no one eats at Taco John’s because they want to, and potato oles are TATER TOTS. I mean, my God, they’re literally identical to the tater tots lunch ladies slammed on my tray in elementary school. Honestly.

But t’s okay, Taco John’s. You don’t have to be delicious or special. You can be a mediocre fast food that will “do” for a hungry family whose father keeps “accidentally” missing all the previous exits with better options until he’s facing mutiny. Just suck it up, come to terms with who you really are, and take your place between Long John Silver’s and Hardee’s in the hall of “alright at best” drive through restaurants in history. And please, do us all a favor— stop putting beef in your fucking queso.

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