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Pup 'N' Taco (also spelled with a lower case 'n') was a privately owned chain of fast-food restaurants in Southern California; the chain's headquarters were located in Long Beach, California. The business was begun by Russell Wendell in 1956 as a drive-in restaurant that served tacos, hot dogs, and pastrami sandwiches. Russell already owned Big DoNut, a chain of successful doughnut stores in Los Angeles that featured gigantic doughnuts atop a drive-in bakery. The first officially branded Pup 'N' Taco was opened in Pasadena, California in 1965.

Pup 'N' Taco
GenreFast Food Restaurant
Fate99 Locations sold to Taco Bell in 1984.
Founded1956 in Pasadena, California, United States
FounderRussell Wendell
Number of locations
102 (1984)
Area served
Albuquerque, New Mexico

The menu consisted of tacos, tostadas, pastrami sandwiches, burgers, several varieties of hot dog (the "pup" in Pup 'N' Taco), and french fries. Beverages included R.C. Cola, root beer and a variety of flavored slushes. In January 1972, there were 50 locations.[1] One year later, there were 62 locations.[2] Russ Wendel Sr. designed many of the buildings.[1][2]

Ninety-nine stores in California were bought by Taco Bell in 1984 for their prime locations in expensive real estate markets, effectively ending the chain.[3][4] However, three operations in Albuquerque, New Mexico, were not included in the deal and two existed as Pop 'N' Taco until closing in the 2010s.


In popular cultureEdit

In the 1985 comedy Fletch, starring Chevy Chase, Chase's character enters Alan Stanwyk's home and responds to the Hispanic maid's greeting of "¡Buenos dias!" (Good morning!) by replying, "¡Buenos Dias ... Pup 'n' Taco!" He greets several Hispanic people throughout the movie by saying the names of Hispanic places or using mock Spanish.

In the film The Runaways, Cherie Currie's sister Marie Currie worked at the "Pup n Fries" in the mid-1970s. Singer Teena Marie worked a Pup 'N' Taco briefly in the 1970s, as did Judge Kevin A. Ross of the syndicated television program America's Court with Judge Ross.

Johnny Carson made many jokes about Pup 'N' Taco in his Tonight Show monologue during the 1970s and '80s.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Three Pup 'n' Taco Drive Ups Open". Los Angeles Times. January 23, 1972. p. j18. (Subscription required (help)). New Pup 'n' Taco Drive Up restaurants have opened at 18450 Ventura Blvd., in Tarzana, 12900 Vanowen St., in North Hollywood, and 14359 Victory Blvd. in Van Nuys... 50 company-owned and operated restaurants. Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help) Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  2. ^ a b "Pup 'n' Taco Opens". Los Angeles Times. February 18, 1973. p. f20. (Subscription required (help)). A Pup 'n' Taco Drive Up restaurant, the 62nd in the chain, has opened at 902 Pacific Coast Highway, Hermosa Beach. Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help) Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  3. ^ "Pepsi Will Buy Taco Outlets". Wall Street Journal. November 2, 1984. p. 47. (Subscription required (help)). the company decided to sell the outlets because of "inflated property prices" in Southern California "and the fact we were "no longer able to afford expansion." Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help) Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  4. ^ Horovitz, Bruce (November 1, 1984). "Taco Bell to Buy 99 Pup 'n' Taco Outlets: Taco: $50-Million Sale". Los Angeles Times. p. g1. (Subscription required (help)). Taco Bell said... "It's their locations that make them so attractive." Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help) Alternate Link via ProQuest.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit