I’m American – This is why Oxford desperately needs a Taco Bell

I do not generally like fast food restaurants, but Taco Bell is the exception to the rule and always has been. 

Ever since I started working in Oxford, I learned the fine city had most of the popular American fast-food restaurants, except Taco Bell. 

The city already has a Burger King, a Wendy’s, a Popeyes Louisiana Chicken, three McDonald’s locations and five KFC locations across the city. Oxford also has a Five Guys burger restaurant in its city centre. But no Taco Bell. 

Why does the city of Oxford not have a Taco Bell? 

Tourists from all over the world, including America visit Oxford all year round so there is a market for it in the city. 

There are now well over 100 Taco Bell locations across the UK, and the city of Oxford could really use its own version of the Mexican-inspired restaurant brand. 

I went to Swindon last week and enjoyed my second Taco Bell experience in England. I had previously been to the Taco Bell in Northampton. My visit to the Taco Bell in the Swindon town centre was great.

What made this Taco Bell experience so significant was how the taste of the crunchy grilled chicken taco supreme really made me want another one and then another one.

The taste of the grilled chicken taco supreme also made me want a Taco Bell in the city where I work in Oxford. 

I found parking a little tricky as the nearest pay as you go car park only accepted coins or payment via an app, which I didn’t have either. I found a parking garage nearby in the end. 

Oxford Mail: Matt Elofson at Taco Bell Matt Elofson at Taco Bell (Image: Matt Elofson)

My go-to at Taco Bell has always been the crunchy grilled chicken taco supreme, which is lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream layered on top of grilled chicken inside a crunch hard taco shell.

In America I often ordered the double-decker crunch taco supreme, which is two crunchy tacos layered over each with refried beans in between them with the same aforementioned filling. 

In the US I sometimes ordered a Mexican pizza, which I did not see on the menu at the Swindon Taco Bell. 

One unusual option on the menu at the Swindon Taco Bell was fries as a side item. For most of my life in America you traditionally could not get fries at a Taco Bell. In more recent years they have started to offer nacho fries as a temporary item on the menu. 

While I was not expecting fries to come with my combo meal at the Swindon Taco Bell, they were tasty, and came with a nice slightly spicy flavouring. 

Oxford Mail: Two crunch chicken supreme tacos with a side of fries and a Pepsi from Taco Bell in the Swindon

One of the other major differences between American Taco Bell locations and the ones in the UK is that primarily only diet sodas are offered to customers at the UK locations. I managed to find a can of normal Pepsi at the Swindon Taco Bell. 

While my Taco Bell experience was good in Swindon it is quite a commute from Oxford for a lunch break. It would be great if I could walk to a Taco Bell in Oxford on my lunch break. 

I have approached Taco Bell UK asking if they have plans to open a new location in Oxford.

A Taco Bell UK spokesperson said: “At present, there are currently no formal arrangements to open a Taco Bell in Oxford. Nevertheless, we are diligently expanding our restaurant network throughout the UK.

“We hope we can support with a restaurant in Oxfordshire at some point in the future.”

As a student at West Virginia University, I won a Jeep Wrangler from Taco Bell at the student union where there was a food court.

Taco Bell flew me to LA to be in one of their commercials too, which was on national television.

My colleagues at the Dothan Eagle, the newspaper where I worked in Alabama, put the commercial on YouTube for me.

Up until around six months ago the Swindon and Northampton Taco Bell locations were the closest ones to my home. But I work in Oxford and there is no Taco Bell in Oxfordshire.

I wish we had a Taco Bell in Oxford.

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