BELL GARDENS – After almost 55 years in business, two local business owners have decided to close-up shop at their popular Bell Gardens fast-food restaurant.
Since the 1960’s, Downey residents Russell and Mary Jones have presided over a humble fast food restaurant chain known as Taco Quickie and Quickie Dog.
The restaurant’s roots have some surprising ties.
“Mom and dad originally pitched their wagon when they came out to California with a guy that had a crazy idea for fast-food Mexican restaurants,” said Pamela Jones-Tintle, daughter of the restaurant owners. “That was Glen Bell, of Taco Bell fame.”
Bell’s first attempt at the fast-food Mexican chain idea may be familiar to Downey residents.
“The original restaurant that they all tried was El Taco, which is in Downey,” said Jones-Tintle. “Mr. Bell had some other partners, was going at it and just didn’t feel the love for it…[Bell] sold out and opted to start over, and his next adventure was Taco Bell.”
Bell’s endeavors also included Plaza Guadalajara in Downey, which the Bell’s became involved with.
“My parents originally had Mr. Bell work with them to have the hamburger stand in Plaza Guadalajara,” said Jones-Tintle.
This would set the stage for Taco Quickie, which came to be in 1963 after the husband and wife decided to try and venture out on their own.
The name came from a play-on-words stemming from Mary’s maiden name; a decision made after it was decided that “Taco Jones” didn’t have a “true ring” to it.
“My mom’s maiden name is Cuicchi,” said Jones-Tintle. “So they opted to go Taco Quickie.”
Taco Quickie would operate several locations in different cities during its time of operation. In its later years, the restaurant’s loyal customers have come to the sole remaining Bell Gardens location to enjoy their hot dogs, burritos, tacos, and “Chili Beefers.”
“A lot of folks that grew up in Bell Gardens in particular have a very strong loyalty for Taco Quickie and Quickie Dog," said Jones-Tintle.
On Sept. 29, Taco Quickie announced via its official Facebook page that the final day for the restaurant would be Oct. 8.
“It’s time. They’re tired; they want to take a break," said Jones-Tintle, referring to her parents.
The announcement of closure drew a strong local community reaction, with many coming out and waiting as long as an hour to enjoy Taco Quickie’s food one last time.
“[There’s been] a lot of well-wishes, surprise, sadness, and celebration,” said Jones-Tintle. “Everyone has been really wonderful coming out to say goodbye one last time as well as have their favorite menu item.”
Now, the Jones’ look forward to a retirement full of fond memories, while holding strong the integrity of Taco Quickie’s legacy.
“They’re going to enjoy the wonderful life that Downey provides,” said Jones-Tintle. “The intellectual property – the Taco Quickie / Quickie Dog name, logos, recipes, all of that – will stay with the family...we’re just letting go of the property and the building.”