It’s 11:30 in the evening and your stomach growls. So you hop in your car (because who wanted the two-day old Chinese leftovers anyway?) and go for a ride. You pull up to 1921 Hwy 45 Bypass in Jackson, TN. The lobby is dark but you can still see motion in the kitchen, and as you creep into the parking lot a familiar purple glow reminds you of two truths: this is Taco Bell and it is the best restaurant in the city.
I do mean empirically. I’m not here to just say I like this place and would recommend it (even though I absolutely do, 10/10). I’m here to explain why it deserves the (currently nonexistent) title of best restaurant in Jackson, TN. I would also like to clarify that I don’t mean Taco Bell as a chain restaurant. I have the utmost regard for Taco Bell’s international presence and sincere affection for all they do. However, this is about the Taco Bell on the 45 Bypass, with which I have had a love affair for the past three and a half years.
I once ordered a Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito (along with other items of course) and was given two. Now I’m not a mathematics major, but it was clear to me that something was off. Upon seeing the contents of the tray fail to compute in my head, the manager said “I tore the tortilla when I wrapped it, so I made you an extra one.”
I was grateful. The weakness of any burrito is its potential for leaks and tears.
But when I opened the defective product I discovered that the tear (if I could call it that) was about a centimeter in length, hardly worth replacing. My reactive thought was something along the lines of “poor judgment call on his part,” accompanied by a self-satisfied chuckle. But then I actually considered it. This was not a mistake. This was good customer service, and the net effect neither of us were yet aware of was that in making that second burrito, he had created an enduring loyalty in me.
That was my freshman year of college. I now go two or three times a week. It just happens that my job usually lets out around 10 o’clock in the evening, leaving my only dinner options as fast food or Kroger. Fast food wins the day, but only because Taco Bell won my heart all those years ago and continues to do so each night I pull up under the purple glow with a craving in my belly and a knowledge that I will be well taken care of.
Maybe you’ve never had an experience like this. Maybe you won’t. So, let’s get down to brass tacks: the Dollar Cravings Menu.
“Eddie, you’ve made some compelling points, but I’m on a budget and not always in the mood for a burrito,” I said, out loud, in order to use it as a rhetorical device.
Oh, well the Cravings Menu is also home to quesadillas, tacos, and a couple of desserts that will absolutely find room in your stomach after your third or fourth item. The best part is that each of them is just a dollar. Regardless of your budget, this is one of the most cost efficient meals you will find. I often eat for as little as $2.
Big spenders can find happiness in items such as the Quesarito or in any one of the excellent box deals offered (three items and a drink for $5).
This is the sort of stuff that the Michelin review looks for: excellent customer service, quality of product and quality of experience. So you’re welcome to disagree, but the Michelin standard is perhaps the most well-respected food review in history. And that’s almost what this is.