Gidget, the Taco Bell dog

We’ve Been Shut in So Long We’re Being Nostalgic for … ’90s Taco Bell and Pizza Hut?

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Nostalgia comes in many forms, and now it is showing itself in the way of … restaurants from the ’90s? And not even good restaurants, mind you. We’re talking about Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, and before you fight me about them being good, I said what I said. (I do love Taco Bell, but that doesn’t mean it is by any means good food.)

I’ll keep my nostalgia confined to the above picture of Gidget (the Taco Bell dog). Nothing but respect for MY fave.

But there is something so specific about what both Pizza Hut and Taco Bell were like back in the day, and Twitter has been filled recently with random tweets about the ’90s-era aesthetics of these establishments. Probably because who even remembers what a restaurant looks like right now?

The nostalgia comes, in a lot of ways, from our own lack of ability to go to ANY restaurants right now, hands down. If you think it comes from actually wishing we were all back in the old school Taco Bells, then you’re just woefully misunderstanding the feeling. I personally would rather not drink out of those white cups with the blue and purple design on the side again (you know the ones), but right now, I’d love to be able to just go anywhere without being overcome by fear of what any person near me was doing.

First, let’s talk about Taco Bell.

The design was weirdly geometric, had nothing to do with the food they were serving, and looked the same in every town. Seeing this picture sent me back to growing up in New Castle, Pennsylvania, and I’m almost positive this is not a picture from the small suburb of Pittsburgh.

The discourse that surrounded the Taco Bell debate started back in May, when a Twitter user said the change to modern-day Taco Bell establishments was a “disease of modernism.” (It is not that deep. It is a TACO BELL.)

It then spawned a Twitter conversation about how that was the modernism of the time (again, it’s not that DEEP) and also hit on the nostalgia of the ’90s and how many of us wish Taco Bell still looked like that.

Now, the conversation has switched to the Hut of the Pizza King—or Pizza Hut, if you will. Remembering the personal pan pizzas of days of old, “fans” of the Hut took to the internet to share their memories of mediocre pizza.

In my own defense, we had Pizza Joe’s in my hometown, so the Hut was not really where we wanted to go, but I did go to London while I was in high school and realized it was a fancier version there, and I still think about it to this day. But, my point is that I don’t really understand why we’re all suddenly remembering the big restaurants of the ’90s that still exist, but … I guess we just all really miss sitting in plastic booths and eating okay food because we can’t physically go to any restaurants right now without fear.

*Insert Edith and Archie Bunker singing “Those Were The Days” from All In The Family here.*

(image: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.