Glen W. Bell, Jr., the founder of Taco Bell, passed away on Monday. We honestly had no idea that the "Bell" in Taco Bell was someone's last name, but the 86-year-old entrepreneur really did leave quite a legacy: the magazine Nation's Restaurant News credits Bell with introducing millions of Americans to Mexican-style food. “I always smile when I hear people say that they never had a taco until Taco Bell came to town,” Bell told the magazine in 2008.
The news got us thinking about a long-gone Taco Bell delight from the '80s, the BellBeefer (originally called the Bell Burger). We like to think it was invented one day when a frantic franchise ran out of taco shells. Really, it was just the contents of a regular beef taco -- beef, sauce, onions, lettuce and cheese -- dumped onto a soft white hamburger bun, kinda like a Mexican sloppy Joe. But somehow the hot meat and fixings melted the wimpy bun into sheer junk-food perfection, the perfect cross-cultural marriage.