Happy Taco Tuesday!

Despite the widespread popularity of the taco, historians have declared its origins to be murky — read on to discover the story of America’s favorite Mexican cuisine.

Jeffrey M. Pilcher speculates the taco to be a product of 18th century Mexican miners; a description of tacos de minero, or miner’s tacos, first appeared in a reference book at the end of the 19th century.

As time progressed, growing industry brought a number of migrants to Mexico City, and with them came food from across the country. Regional differences in cooking styles gave way to what we know today as “Mexican food.” Tacos and tamales alike were sold from carts in the streets, and despite the vendors’ reputation as “lower-class” people were still intrigued by their new, spicy flavors.

The early 20th century saw an increase in civil rights and thus allowed Mexican food to rise in prominence. Meanwhile, its flavors were developing further in Mexico. New toppings and taco combinations were influenced by food brought in from other countries.

Glen Bell claimed to have invented the pre-shaped hard taco shell in the 50’s. He opened Taco Bells across the country, but his fast-food chain was targeted towards Americans otherwise unfamiliar with Mexican culture. Tacos changed and adapted as common ingredients were replaced with those more available in the US – lettuce, cheese, and hamburger meat.

It’s unclear whether the taco shell is an original invention of Bell’s or of authentic Mexican restaurants, as it is officially listed, but one thing is for sure – through decades of creativity and ingenuity the taco has become a well-loved aspect of diversity in American dining.

So, how do you like your tacos? Visit us for our Taco Tuesday special and let us know — at $2 a taco ($2.50 for shrimp and tilapia), you’re sure to find your favorite combinations.