Zantigo's --- the one food I miss so much!
My first job during high school around fall of 1977 was at Steak 'n' Shake. But six weeks later I got sick of the all the disgusting grease from standing over the french fry cooker---I had enough zits already and didn't need to be taking a steam bath in french fry oil every day! Besides, those checked pants and bow ties they made us wear were so geeky.
So, when I heard they were opening the first location of a new mexican fast food place called Zantigo's near my home, I jumped at the chance. Besides, there were a couple of cute young women from my church youth group who were going to be working there, too, so I couldn't pass it up! :)
The managers were cool. The place was brand new and clean. And the food.... AWESOME!
Chilitos (especially the green Diablo)!
Chips n Cheese!
Even the refried beans were outstanding!
As someone else mentioned, the seasoning was just so much better than any other taco place's. I can still taste it all these years later... and I long for that food again!
My dad's dream was to be in Times Square for New Year's Eve. He got to do that. Some people want to go to Europe or Asia or elsewhere. Other people dream of taking their kids or grandkids to DisneyWorld (I've been there, done that, and it was great). But, for me, I dream of making a trek from St. Louis to Minnesota just to eat at the last best relative of a real Zantigo restaurant!
By the way... regarding Taco Bell's demise... it WAS when they changed to the thicker cheese (as mentioned above). As I recall, they brought out a line of modified products that were supposedly healthier, which had the thicker cheese (or a thicker low-fat cheese alternative, or something like that) and they also used different lower-fat tortilla's etc. That food was actually pretty good. But it didn't catch on with the porker public overall (of which I am one), and they dropped that specialty line, but at the same time kind of moved some of the stylistic changes to the regular full-on-fat versions of their products (which thicker cheese, a different tasting burrito shell, different spices on the taco meat, etc.). The old stuff was better.