Taco CabanaMy first serious introduction to Taco Cabana was when a landlord at the time, I was living in Tempe, AZ, when that landlord asked all of his residents to appear before city council about a zoning change. We protested, on behalf of the landlord, and the Taco Cabana got built anyway. I graduated and left town. End of story?
Not quite. Taco Cabana started in San Antonio, on San Pedro, maybe? I could’ve answered that at an earlier date.
Headed out of Austin, south towards the adopted home of Bexar County, overtaken by hunger from a long day at work, we pulled into the Kyle location. With a long line at the drive-thru, just figured it would be easier to pop inside.
A young person with a haunted and harried look, I glanced over at the cooler filled with ice, beer, and coke, then grab me a Topo Chico, while she starts to take our orders.
“We short-handed tonight, so it will take 20 minutes at least,” she said.
I nodded, paid for the water bottle, and asked if she was taking the orders and cooking them, too.
With half-dozen cars in the outside lane at the drive-thru, and my tummy rumbling against the twilight’s glow, it’s not like this is the last Taco Cabana we’ll ever see.
Back on the road, about two exits further south, there’s a San Marcos Taco Cabana, and from its relative location, plus, a somewhat odd shaped lot, pretty sure I’ve dined at this location before. Walked in with my un-opened Topo Chico, and we ordered up some tacos. A light, flavorful, repast as a cure to hunger pains and working conditions.
A working crew member, interesting ink showing on her arms, made a comment about about the Topo Chico, “See? I knew we had some.”
Actually, I brought this in; it’s from the other store, in Kyle.
“I stopped there once, the store, it’s like, I’ll never go back there. Our store is better.”
For the time being, I would agree. Had fresh, sizzling tacos in less than three or five minutes, along with a running commentary from an employee about how the San Marcos location is so much better, and that, in itself was amusing. Internecine fighting against a backdrop of corporate rivalry.
Taco Cabana in Kyle, compared to San Marcos? A difference of a few miles and maybe a different county? The employee loyalty was remarkable in both cases. That Kyle store was being operated, when I was there, by one person. Order taking, then cooking that order, and handling the cashier role as well. That’s some fierce loyalty.
The employee in San Marcos valiantly defending her store above all others? That was fierce loyalty as well.