Taco Cabana is a chain of fast food restaurants - including 'drive-through' (or 'drive-thru') windows - that are often known as the 'Pink Palaces' of Mexican food. It's as if the corporate stylised idea of a Mexican cantina was meshed with the Barbie DreamHouse. Unfortunately, the exterior decor has been softened somewhat in many locations with the recent corporate buyout. The food quality at Taco Cabana is a cut above most fast food joints, and is actually better than that of many sit-down Mexican food restaurants in the United States. As they are open 24 hours a day, they are especially popular with university students.
Taco Cabana began as a simple taco stand in San Antonio, Texas in 1978, and has since grown to over 120 locations, largely in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma1. In 2000, Taco Cabana was bought by the Carrols Corporation, which also owns 360 Burger King restaurants. It can only be hoped that this acquisition will lead to an expansion of the franchise without diluting the quality of the food.
Many people go to Taco Cabana just for the appetisers - several different salsa options are available, and the nachos and queso are well worth driving across state lines for. Popular entrees include fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and quesadillas - each made especially tasty by the handmade tortillas. Many vegetarian dishes are also available.
As with many fast food restaurants, Taco Cabana has made forays into areas such as breakfast food, as well as healthy salad and chicken dishes. The salads would be quite palatable if a diner wasn't surrounded by other people eating their amazing nachos. And even though it may be open all night and into the mornings, there will always be a choice better than the breakfast taco. Several desserts are also available, but are really more suitable to the offered catering service than to eating in a fast food restaurant.
Unlike most fast food restaurants, Taco Cabana serves alcohol. In fact, at many locations you can even get a margarita in the drive-through area! Several brands of beer are also available, including the Mexican restaurant staple, Corona.