Most people have been to a Taco Bell at least once, but I had never set foot in one. So, when the Taco Bell Cantina opened on Durant, I was curious, and skeptical. Like many, I refuse to consider its food Mexican food, especially because I'm from San Diego. But, I wanted to pinpoint Taco Bell's place among the fast food/drunk food spots in Berkeley, so I stopped by on a Saturday at 1 am to see what Berkeley's drunk students had to say.
"It's terrible food, you hate yourself after, but it's the most food you can get for the lowest price."
Despite the apparent low quality of the food and potential self-hatred after consumption, these two gentlemen shared the general consensus I found that night: you really can't beat Taco Bell's prices.
"I think it's the happiest place on Earth."
This student seemed to be more excited for her Beefy Fritos Burrito than someone would be at Disneyland, so the quote is fitting. She wanted to add that this burrito is the best thing on the menu, and yes, she even orders it sober.
"There's no other place in Berkeley where you can hang out, get a beer, and just chill."
This student was commenting on the fact that because it is a Taco Bell Cantina, customers can enjoy cheap beer and wine, probably after consuming lots of other cheap beer and wine. But with beautiful wood seating, lots of TVs, and a spacious, well decorated area, this Taco Bell is conducive to "chilling."
"I think it sucks, but it's open all the time. We are way too intoxicated for this."
The Taco Bell Cantina is open from 7 am to 2 am, so this freshman who didn't want to talk to me wasn't far off in his statement.
"This is a very good way to save money and get food. We are trying to get f*cking f*cked up."
This couple shared the overall theme of my findings: Taco Bell Cantina isn't a place you go for a particularly good meal, but if you have one or two dollars (and may have been drinking), it's a fantastic option right on Durant.
When I went back to order something for the first time (I went with a chicken taco and a Starburst Strawberry Freeze), I agreed with the students I interviewed. My taco wasn't spectacular, but the order was only $2.95 which is less than I spend on one cup of coffee, so I understand why people flock here. Personally, Artichoke's will hold my heart as the drunk food go-to in Berkeley, but I would not rule out Taco Bell Cantina as Berkeley students' new favorite drunk food spot.