13 Discontinued Taco Bell Menu Items

iStock/NoDerog
iStock/NoDerog

America has been running for the border since Taco Bell was founded in California in 1962. And though the fast food joint has served all manner of nachos, tacos, and burritos since then, they've also discontinued quite a few cheese-stuffed items along the way. In honor of National Taco Day, here are 13 discontinued menu items from Taco Bell.

1. BELL BEEFER

Taco Bell’s take on the Sloppy Joe, the Bell Beefer was introduced in the mid-1970s and survived until the mid-'90s. The Beefer represented Taco Bell’s attempt to combat the popularity of the fast food hamburger. The popular item consisted of a burger-style bun with taco meat, diced onions, shredded lettuce, and mild “border sauce.” A Supreme version was also available, adding grated cheese and diced tomatoes to the mix. Initially a hit, the Bell Beefer lost favor with fans in the late '80s.

2. VOLCANO TACO

Initially rolled out in the fall of 2008 in select locations, the Volcano Taco featured a unique crunchy red taco shell stuffed with ground beef, lettuce, and the immensely popular Lava Sauce, a spicy nacho cheese sauce that was introduced specifically for the Volcano Taco. In light of the taco’s popularity, Taco Bell made the Volcano Taco a part of the permanent menu in 2009. However, in 2013, the introduction of the Fiery Doritos Locos Taco rendered the Volcano redundant and it was phased out.

3. CHEESARITO

Part of Taco Bell’s original menu, the Cheesarito was discontinued but can still be obtained through Taco Bell’s legendary “Secret Menu.” The Cheesarito is simple but delicious, consisting of melted cheese, scallions, and taco sauce, all rolled up in a soft tortilla.

4. BLACK JACK TACO

The Impulsive Buy, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

The Black Jack Taco is notable for being one of the only menu items in Taco Bell history to utilize a colored tortilla shell (the others being the previously mentioned Volcano and Fiery Doritos Locos Tacos). Introduced for Halloween in 2009, the Black Jack Taco consisted of a black taco shell stuffed with beef, Baja sauce, lettuce, and the three cheese blend. It has not returned since its initial debut, but the Black Jack Taco remains memorable due to allegations that the black dye used on the taco shell changed the color of the customers', erm, number two.

5. CINNAMON CRISPAS

These sugary, cinnamon crisps served as Taco Bell’s dessert of choice for years before they were discontinued.

6. BLT TACO

Part of Taco Bell’s popular “Sizzlin’ Bacon Menu” in the 1990s and 2000s, the BLT Taco was a limited run taco that consisted of—you guessed it—bacon, lettuce, and tomato, topped off with club sauce and cheddar cheese.

7. NACHO CRUNCH GRILLED STUFT BURRITO

The Nacho Crunch Burrito was an item from Taco Bell’s mid-2000s “Stuft” menu. Introduced in 2005 and discontinued in 2006, the Nacho Crunch Burrito featured a double portion of ground beef, nacho cheese, low-fat sour cream, diced red tomatoes, and crunchy red tortilla strips.

8. SEAFOOD SALAD

This short-lived '80s menu item was Taco Bell’s attempt at competing with McDonald’s popular Filet-O-Fish. The salad came with shrimp, whitefish, and snow crab.

9. CHICKEN CAESAR GRILLED STUFT BURRITO

The most popular item from the “Stuft” menu, Taco Bell’s Chicken Caesar Grilled Stuft Burrito made waves when it was first introduced back in the summer of 2003. The menu item was essentially the chain’s take on a classic chicken Caesar wrap, but with a Taco Bell twist. The Chicken Caesar Grilled Stuft Burrito consisted of chicken, romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, and crunchy red tortilla strips. This burrito also has a cult following, with Facebook revival campaigns cropping up every few years.

10. GRILLED STUFT NACHO

Another customer favorite, the Grilled Stuft Nacho was introduced in 2013 and discontinued in 2014. The popular snack consisted of a flour tortilla shaped like a nacho, stuffed with beef, nacho cheese, sour cream, and crunchy red tortilla strips. Although reintroduced briefly in 2015, the Stuft Nacho is once again off the menu. (Though there are online efforts to bring it back.)

11. FULLY LOADED NACHOS

Available at Taco Bell during the fall and winter of 2008 to 2009, Fully Loaded Nachos featured a heaping portion of tortilla chips topped with a double portion of ground beef, Fiesta Salsa, guacamole, refried beans, a three-cheese blend, sour cream, crunchy red strips, and nacho cheese sauce. The dish was served in an edible tortilla bowl.

12. ENCHIRITO

An incredibly popular menu item since its inception in the '70s, the Enchirito was inexplicably discontinued in the 1990s. A burrito/enchilada hybrid, the Enchirito was topped with tangy red sauce and a row of exactly three black olives, and came in a signature reheatable tin. Due to popular demand, the Enchirito was brought back intermittently throughout the '90s and 2000s, until it was eliminated for good in 2013. The Enchirito’s replacement, the Smothered Burrito, failed to attain quite the same level of success, and die-hard Taco Bell customers will still ask their local Bell location to whip up a classic-style Enchirito by ordering a Smothered Burrito but replacing the sour cream and sauce with onions and red sauce. Close enough, even for purists!

13. SPICY CHICKEN CRUNCHWRAP SUPREME

A take-off on staple Taco Bell menu item the Crunchwrap Supreme, the Spicy Chicken Crunchwrap Supreme contained chicken, Lava sauce, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream, all stuffed in a signature tostada shell. It was available from 2006 to 2010, and like so many former menu items, it remains popular amongst Taco Bell fans whose memories are as strong as their stomachs.

This story originally ran in 2016.

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What Really Happens When Food Goes Down the 'Wrong Pipe'?

The dreaded 'wrong pipe' calamity can strike at any time.
The dreaded 'wrong pipe' calamity can strike at any time.
Photo by Adrienn from Pexels

Your average person isn’t expected to be well-versed in the linguistics of human anatomy, which is how we wind up with guns for biceps and noggins for heads. So when swallowing something is followed by throat irritation or coughing, the fleeting bit of discomfort is often described as food “going down the wrong pipe.” But what’s actually happening?

When food is consumed, HuffPost reports, more than 30 muscles activate to facilitate chewing and swallowing. When the food is ready to leave your tongue and head down to your stomach, it’s poised near the ends of two "pipes," the esophagus and the trachea. You want the food to take the esophageal route, which leads to the stomach. Your body knows this, which is why the voice box and epiglottis shift to close off the trachea, the “wrong pipe” of ingestion.

Since we don’t typically hold our breath when we eat, food can occasionally take a wrong turn into the trachea, an unpleasant scenario known as aspiration, which triggers an adrenaline response and provokes coughing and discomfort. Dislodging the food usually eases the sensation, but if it’s enough to become stuck, you have an obstructed airway and can now be officially said to be choking.

The “wrong pipe” can also be a result of eating while tired or otherwise distracted or the result of a mechanical problem owing to illness or injury.

You might also notice that this happens more often with liquids. A sip of water may provoke a coughing attack. That’s because liquids move much more quickly, giving the body less time to react.

In extreme cases, food or liquids headed in the “wrong” direction can wind up in the lungs and cause pneumonia. Fortunately, that’s uncommon, and coughing tends to get the food moving back into the esophagus.

The best way to minimize the chances of getting food stuck is to avoid talking with your mouth full—yes, your parents were right—and thoroughly chew sensible portions.

If you experience repeated bouts of aspiration, it’s possible an underlying swallowing disorder or neurological problem is to blame. An X-ray or other tests can help diagnose the issue.

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