Hark! Taco Bell potatoes have risen! [Updated]

Aimee Levitt and Allison Robicelli
·5 min read

Update, January 14, 2021: Remember last year when Taco Bell, in an effort to streamline its menu, ditched a whole bunch of stuff that everybody loved? While there was much public hullabaloo about the death of Mexican Pizza, the real victims of the Menu Massacre of 2020 were vegetarians, who have long counted on the Bell as one of the only reliable sources of meat-free fast food, and were cruelly forced to say goodbye to potato bites. Well dry your tears, America, because come March 11, Taco Bell potatoes are back, baby!

For those of you who are not “in the know,” just about any dish on the Taco Bell menu can be made vegetarian by asking to substitute the protein with potato bites. And for the vegans in the room: the potatoes are certified vegan by the American Vegetarian Association, so start daydreaming about all the crazy concoctions you can make with potatoes, beans, and sauce packets. Starting on March 11th, all the Taco Bell potatoes you desire can, and will, be yours.

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Taco Bell also announced that just like every fast food restaurant nowadays, they, too, are working on a plant-based “meat” option, and have chosen Beyond Meat as their partner. Don’t expect it on menus too soon, though; the company has only stated that it will be tested this year, meaning it could be many, many months til it arrives. Know what would make a great meat-free placeholder in the meantime, Taco Bell? The 7-Layer Burrito. I shall never forgive the monsters who axed it, and I will never stop demanding justice for the most iconic vegetarian fast food item of all time.


Update, July 20, 2020: After sending a frantic email to Taco Bell on Friday about the fate of the beloved 7-Layer Burrito, we have at last received an email confirming our worst suspicions:

“Taco Bell is simplifying its menu to streamline operations,” wrote the unfortunate PR rep who likely woke up this Monday morning to an inbox with tens of thousands of angry emails to respond to. “While some fan favorites like the 7-Layer Burrito, Potato Bites, and Loaded Grillers may be retiring from menus, we’re excited to permanently introduce the $1 Beef Burrito to the Cravings Value Menu and the return of the $5 Grande Nachos Box for a limited time.”

But here’s the problem, Taco Bell: the 7-Layer Burrito has been a fast food staple for vegetarians for decades—to the meatless masses, it’s as iconic as the Big Mac, or a certain very special chicken sandwich. And why in God’s name would you ever 86 one of your most beloved menu items when it requires no special ingredients and takes all of 20 seconds to assemble? Certainly all your locations will still have rice, beans, guac, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and cheese in their kitchens. And considering that over the past year you’ve been bragging that your menu has been vegetarian-friendly long before the rest of the industry became infatuated with fake meat and cow farts... I mean, none of this makes any sense. Then again, nothing in 2020 makes sense.

Aside from the 7-Layer Burrito, a lot of other stuff is getting the ol’ heave-ho. If you have a special place in your heart for any of these items, you’d better get them quick before they’re cruelly ripped from you in August:

  • Grilled Steak Soft Taco

  • Nachos Supreme

  • Beefy Fritos Burrito®

  • Spicy Tostada

  • Triple Layer Nachos

  • Spicy Potato Soft Taco

  • Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes

  • Loaded Grillers (Cheesy Potato, Beefy Nacho)

  • Chips & Dips

  • Mini Skillet Breakfast Bowl

Our Taco Bell contact, who remains firmly in my prayers, did share one bit of happy news: while Quesaritos will be removed from menus in restaurants, they will still be available online and in the app, so they’re not actually going anywhere. They’re just being coy for some reason.


Original post, July 17, 2020: Rumors began spreading this week via r/LiveMas, the self-described “subreddit for all things Taco Bell,” that the beloved faux Mexican chain was planning to update its menu starting August 13.

A Taco Bell employee reported that the Grande Nacho Box was returning, but the big news was that a whole bunch of items were about to be discontinued: Quesaritos, Loaded Grillers, Triple Layer Nacho, Beefy Frito Burrito, Spicy Tostada, Nacho Supreme, everything with potatoes, and, most tragically, the 7-Layer Burrito (though that last item remains unconfirmed).

We’ve lost so much already this year, starting with the Cool Ranch Doritos Loco Taco. Do we have to lose the 7-Layer Burrito, too?

Already the Redditors have planned campaigns to save the potatoes, which, as we should all know by now, are essential to the best version of a Mexican Pizza. Some have suggested using reverse psychology since, as one argues, “If you ask Taco Bell to keep an item on the menu they’ll get rid of it, but constantly bring back things people don’t care that much about as LTOs.”

People of America, it’s time to act. Raise your voices. Soften Taco Bell’s hard-shell heart into a merciful tortilla, expansive enough to hold all seven layers. Now is the time!