The Strangest Mexican Food Chain in America: Taco Bueno

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A massive painting inside Taco Bueno--WTF??? But I guess it's better than a Chihuahua...

This past summer, I drove from Anacrime to Louisville, Kentucky, down to Chattanooga, then took I-40 back home. Along the way, I did some research for my coming Mexican-food book, research that was necessary but wasn't pleasant. And my worst experience, by far, was at the Taco Bell of the lower Midwest: Taco Bueno.


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Waaa!

We stopped in a branch in Oklahoma City, and if that scenario wasn't depressing enough, it was near closing time, so the gabacho teens that served us were already surly and wanting to leave. Taco Bueno aspires to the levels of Taco Bell, but just can't quite reach that high. Their signature dish is something called the Muchaco, which I'm assuming is a portmanteau of "mucho" and "taco" if the portion was mucho and it was a taco.

But I don't even know how to describe the muchaco above. The base you see  is a flabby, cold pita bread; the meat, ground beef. It was small, greasy, and about as unappetizing a take on Mexican food as I've ever had. There was nothing redeeming about this dish--nothing at all. Plus, the aftermath...well, I don't want to get in a libel suit, so let's just say this muchaco upset me tummy.

There are no plans for Taco Bueno to invade Orange County, and thank God for that: even Barbara Coe does not deserve torture like this, and she's evil. Look, I'm as much a fan of bad Mexican food as anyone else--I still dream about Taco John's breakfast burrito fat with tater tots--but if you ever find yourself screaming down the highway in Texas or Oklahoma, famished for a bite, you're better off eating the area's soil.

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