18471 Mt. Langley, Fountain Valley, CA, USA

Quick—you're in a Del Taco state of mind, and you're within easy striking distance of three different Del Tacos. Which do you choose?

Trick question! Because we're hittin' the ol' 405 and heading to Naugles!


Even though I didn't grow up in SoCal, as soon as I heard about Naugles I was instantly nostalgic for it. A Del Taco spinoff featuring pretty much the same menu, it was the result of some kind of acrimonious business situation between the original DT partners. Fortunately for me, what acrimony (or, indeed, DT's) can't be solved with some good ol' 1980's-style fast food GringoMex™?


Now, this Naugles is actually a revived version of the original; someone apparently bought the intellectual property and is having a go at bringing it back. I can't say how that's going, but I can say that putting the flagship location in a business park might not be quite a Richard Branson-caliber maneuver.

But in a day when titans of industry love to talk about starting out in their garages, maybe this is not an uncommon play. Why, even my own budding pornography business had its humble beginnings in a youthful neighbor's playpen!


Once you're inside, this Naugles feels less like a place where you go to be in a focus group and more like a place where you go to get some grub. The menu is simple and very similar to any current Del Taco, so I made a point to order the beloved cult items that you won't find anymore: the Bun Taco (once known at Taco Bell as the "Bell Beefer"), the Cheese Burrito, and an Original Taco just because why the hell not.

All good, all exactly the way I would have remembered them if A) I had ever had them before, and B) I had not pickled my brain over the years with so many Shirley Temple Blacks (my decidedly NON-virgin drink of choice).

Sure, you could argue that this wasn't really Naugles, the way a "Peach Pit" pop-up restaurant isn't really the Peach Pit, or Menachem Begin deepfakes aren't really pornography. Oh, that reminds me …

Review by Wimpempy Tarlisle, June 2017