There aren’t many chain restaurants that I miss, but Taco John’s is one of them. Everyone always thought I was crazy for preferring Taco John’s over Taco Bell, but I loved Taco John’s.
When I was growing up, they used to give free tacos for A’s on your report card. You’d bring in the report card, they’d give you a taco then mark the report card so you couldn’t try to use it again. As stupid as it sounds, it was always an incentive to get A’s. We knew if we did, we get a trip for tacos.
Once we got too old for that, we would always hit up the store on Tuesday for “Taco Tuesday” All tacos were half price and my mom could feed two growing boys for half price. Not a bad deal.
Taco John’s kind of fell out of my life until I moved to Peoria. I worked in one of Peoria’s suburbs and right down the street was a Taco John. I know this is going to surprise most people, but folks working in small town television news make about the same as fast food employees who don’t have thousands of dollars in student loans to pay off, so anytime I could pick up a cheap meal, I did. Every Tuesday, you could find me at the Taco John’s where I could get six hardshell tacos for under $4.
Tonight, I rode with my parents to Kankakee to pick up pizza. Yes, they had to drive a half hour to pick up a pizza. There are no delivery places in Clifton or close enough to deliver so we piled in the van and headed “to town.” The pizza place we went to shares a parking lot of Taco John’s. We were early to pick up our pizza and I said something about not having a Taco John’s in Lansing. My aunt happened to have a coupon for a free value meal that she offered, so my mom and I walked next door to get a couple taco’s.
Taco John’s sells “West-Mex” food. I have no idea what that means. They do a lot of the same stuff Taco Bell does, but my feeling is the taco meat has more sauce or something because it has a much better flavor than Taco Bell’s. We just got a #1 meal which was two hard shell taco’s, potato ole’s (tater tots), and a pop. Normally, it would have been a little over five bucks, but our coupon made it free. I don’t like the potato ole’s, so I gave those to my mom and scarfed down the two tacos. It didn’t put a dent in my hunger, but it was so nice to have that comfort food.
There are no Taco John’s in Michigan. Most of them are in the upper Midwest. The closest stores to Michigan are either this Bradley store or one in Peru, IN. That’s too bad. If Taco Bell is all you know, you’re missing out. When it comes to Mexican food, I prefer the Americanized Mexican to the real thing and there’s nothing like Taco John’s.