While the region's movie industry has made a romance or two in its time, nearly every heart-tugger in the world weakens before one of Southern California's truly intense twosomes: food lovers and historic restaurants that may be in danger of demolishment.
Letters will be written, passionate rallies held, and, if everything works out, the structure will still stand, as was the case earlier this year at NORMS La Cienega, which had the words "wrecking ball" floating above its big-window'd facade for several weeks.
Sometimes, though, the structure ends up standing in a whole new place. Look to Downey, and the very first Taco Bell, the storied eatery that founder Glenn Bell opened in 1962. It's currently at 7186 Firestone Boulevard, but as of the weekend before Thanksgiving, it will be in Irvine, at the Taco Bell corporate offices.
U.S. & World
Yep, "Taco Bell Numero Uno" is going on a epic overnight roll on the streets of SoCal. Date? Thursday night, Nov. 19 into the wee smalls of Friday, Nov. 20. Hours? 10-10:30 p.m. to just before 6 o'clock in the morning, or so.
You remember Space Shuttle Endeavour, and LACMA's Levitated Mass, and the other big things we so regularly move around in SoCal; it takes time to put a formerly unmovable thing on wheels and move it.
To call the structure beloved among Downey denizens is to traffic in understatement, and to say that its fans were worried when word of possible demolishment arrived at the start of the year is equally understated.
For while it has housed a number of different eateries over the last three or so decades, it remained, to many local long-timers, the Taco Bell they grew up going to after games and before dances.
Organizations like We Are the Next of Long Beach and the Downey Conservancy sprung into action at the news of the building perhaps being razed, as did Taco Bell, which met with the civic-minded, past-preservation groups.
We Are the Next's Executive Director Katie Rispoli met with both the property's current owners, which alerted the groups to the building's vacancy and potential demolishment, and Rispoli began to meet with the company to see what the wee building's future might be.
Taco Bell went full hashtag – #savetacobell – which helped spread the early word. The company found funds to put the arch-laden landmark on wheels and transport it to its HQ, and the conservancy and We Are the Next provided guidance and input on the process.
Ms. Rispoli shares that the structure, which cannot be entered, will not be on view once it reaches Irvine. But her hope is that one day it may have a "beneficial public use" and perhaps even return to Downey, its forever home.
Like the romance between food people and historic restaurants, civic organizations and major companies can sometimes unite in a moving, and movable, cause. It's a slice of Downey delight, and regional whimsy, and its a restaurant that birthed thousands of others around the globe.
Want to see it? Catch a nap on Thursday, if you can, because this'll be an all-nighter. There's a live webcam of the roll -- of course there is -- and some true-blue burrito buffs may make for a curb on Firestone, to wave goodbye to a local legend.