Food institutions are very important to the collegiate experience. When I was in college, there was a sandwich deli that got packed every Friday and Saturday night, and I have fond half-memories of sitting on the sidewalk outside eating chicken parms. If something had happened to University Market during my time in school, I can only assume there'd be a tribute send-off as sweet as the one students at Georgia Tech gave when their beloved campus Taco Bell shut down last week.
As reported by Vice's Munchies vertical, the Taco Bell in the student center at the Georgia Institute of Technology served up its last Gordita Crunch and Nacho Supreme last Wednesday. Students only found out they were losing their favorite — well, most local — American Tex-Mex fast food outlet about a week prior, and first turned to Reddit to lament the loss. "Other taco bells always have soggy taco shells. The ones in the SC were crispy. They also didn't skimp on meat. I'd get that burrito with the beef and rice usually. At the taco bell by my house they give you 99% rice with a tiny spritz of beef. The SC hit me with majority beef every time," one poster wrote. Another added, "Straight up if not for Taco Bell I probably would have starved on campus. Everything else is just too expensive."
Indeed, the impending death of the student center Taco Bell was deeply felt, so much so that over one hundred students gathered outside the outpost on its final night to give it a proper military burial. As the gates came down for the last time, students played "Taps," and the entire experience was appropriately funeral. You can see video below:
It is clear the loss of this Taco Bell will reverberate around campus, although I do see they have a very nice looking Chick-Fil-A, so hopefully that will aid them in their search for late night sustenance. Other eateries at the Georgia Tech student center include a Blue Donkey Coffee outpost, a Panda Express, a Subway, a Bhojanic Market, a Dunkin' Donuts, an Essential Eats, a Far East Fusion, a Ray's Express, a Simply Sustainable Salad Bar, a Simply-to-Go, a Twisted Taco, and a Yahala Mediterranean, and there's a full service dining hall. Forgive me if I'm a tad bitter, but considering my university's only student center was the library, and the only eatery we had there was a coffee shop with old tuna fish sandwiches and a snack machine THAT NEVER HAD TWIZZLERS, I feel cheated.
Still, as Redditors noted, the Taco Bell was special, if just because it was so cheap. Interestingly, it did not have stellar Yelp reviews, with common complaints including that the shop was often understaffed, which might explain why it closed. Per one Yelp reviewer:
Hands down the worst Taco Bell I have ever been to. I waited 30+ minutes for a simple order (loaded potato griller, chicken chipotle ranch griller, quesadilla). Chaos reigned while I was waiting for my order; I watched more than 10 people who ordered after me get their food before me. To make it worse, the wait wasn't pleasant at all. The staff is yelling random things in barely coherent English and didn't bother addressing my concerns over the whereabouts of my missing order. Everyone waiting for their order (~10 people) are forced to crowd together in a tiny space in front of the counter. Don't make the mistake I made. Just skip this nightmare of a Taco Bell.
Of course, that aforementioned crowding simply proves that the Taco Bell was a popular location, and that it will be deeply missed.