KFC/Taco Bell
6 East Lake St, Chicago, IL, USA

I trust hybrid fast-food restaurants about as much as I trust hybrid human-dogs … they might seem appealing on the surface, but there is always something nefarious going on behind the scenes. As with business-to-business promotions that result in, like, magazine subscriptions that come with free hair-care products or CDs bundled with weight-loss shakes, a hybrid fast-food joint is the ultimate in corporate half-assedness … "the work of someone trying to please their boss," as They Might Be Giants would say.

This KFC/Taco Bell location confused me more than most. Not because I don't understand why they were stitched together (they're both owned by Pepsi), nor because I think the food is mutually exclusive (though I do think that). No, it had more to do with the fact that everyone working there was high.

I don't mean that like, "What are you, high?" Rather, I'm certain these folks actually were high. So high they couldn't focus on counting change. So high they were distracted by loud noises (i.e. the bell that sounds when anyone enters the store) and shiny lights (i.e. my small eyebrow piercing). Each customer needed to repeat his or her order numerous times, and usually challenge the counted-back change, and also have the order corrected after receiving it. It was amusing on one level, but maddening on another.

The menu featured separate offerings from KFC and Taco Bell, as well as combo meals offering a little bit of both. Nothing like a buttermilk biscuit or chicken fingers to accompany your Grilled Stuft Burrito! They might as well have put a sign on the door saying "Given up on life? Try our Least Healthy Possible™ combo meals, featuring up to 8 varieties of starch!"

The food was adequate, the atmosphere dingy and unpleasant. There was some kind of water-main break at the nearest street corner that was causing all sorts of chaos. And some woman sat down right next to my table, despite the plentiful dining area being almost completely empty. Don't people know that no one wants to eat KFC or Taco Bell within sight of anyone else? It's private, like surfing for porn, or praying, or praying for porn.

Still, given how depressing the place was, I can't exactly blame the employees for being high. If I worked at a KFC/Taco Bell, I'd be high too.

blank stare

Loud Bassoon rating scale

Review by Timothy Hay, April 2004