When I was in Barstow, California, the last two days of July, just down the block from the cute little Route 66 motel that I stayed in was a Del Taco.
I have not eaten at a Del Taco since I left Texas in April 1993, possibly because I used to eat at the one in College Station, Texas, virtually every day. Since I was trying to escape the Great Nation of Texas, eating at Del Taco would remind me too much of that state.
I was on my way down to the historic Barstow railroad yard but there were a lot of homeless people in the area. One of them asked me if I had any change. I did not, but I had a credit card and offered to buy him supper. He accepted. I told him he could order anything he wanted, but I don’t think he did. I think he was simply grateful for a meal. While he was ordering and waiting, I walked to the seating area because there was a large mural on the wall. Looked like this:
After reading the mural, I logged onto Wikipedia to read all about Del Taco. According to Wikipedia, the first Del Taco was opened in Yermo, twelve miles east of Barstow, on September 16, 1964. Its success led to the opening of two restaurants in Barstow. That left me dissatisfied with this location claiming that “it all started in Barstow.” Apparently it did not; it all started in Yermo. City rivalry perhaps?
The mural says that Del Taco started in 1961 as Taco Tia.
I could find no verification for that. The only Taco Tia I could find was Taco-Tia, an early name for Taco Bell, Del Taco’s rival. In fact, the 1961 verbiage on the mural is identical to the 1964 verbiage on Del Taco’s current web site.
From the mural in the restaurant:
From Del Taco’s web site:
Considering the location of this Del Taco in Barstow, 401 N. First Avenue, I suspect that it is, indeed, the first Del Taco in Barstow, so probably the second Del Taco overall.
A Google search brought up three videos about the first Del Taco in Yermo, and the first one I watched gave me an address: 38434 Yermo Road. The video, uploaded to YouTube on January 21, 2018, says that there currently is a restaurant there called Burger Den. In this still, taken from a YouTube video uploaded on July 21, 2017, you can see the Burger Den sign and an old Del Taco sign:
I’m going to go with the Yermo location being the very first Del Taco and the Barstow location simply practicing a little sibling rivalry.