A new Del Taco now occupies prime Snellville real estate, the old location of Fazoli’s, roughly at the corner of Ronald Reagan and 124. It is, if Tone to Atlanta can be believed, the largest extant Del Taco anywhere. I heard somewhere that it’s the first Del Taco in the state of Georgia since their bankruptcy, and it has enough buzz that Grant Goggans came out, ate, and gave a very lyrical, impressionistic review of the restaurant.

Back of the Del Taco

It’s crowded, this Del Taco, lines circling the building, men outside with electronic pads because the drive through electronics aren’t working. The press of people for a chain whose best selling point is as a counterweight to Taco Bell, a Burger King to Taco Bell’s McDonalds, is fascinating, in a human train wreck kind of way.

I wasn’t able to go in the beginning, though by the time I made it with my daughter, my wife and daughter had already been three times. Inside, the lines that snaked half way through the building, the smell of burgers and french fries, were clear reminders that this isn’t even close to authentic, it’s a classic American attempt to side-step any sign of ethnicity in ethnic food.

Food as wrapped and delivered

Shrimp taco. Decent shrimp, but too much mayo for my daughter's tastes.

Does that meat look grilled to you?

The food comes to you in little aluminum bundles, perfect as missles in a high school food fight. Yes, designed to be taken home, as opposed to appreciated on the table. That’s the only reason I can come up with to explain how unappealing their tacos actually are. Grey wet meat with almost no visible sear dominates their tacos. But if you taste the meat, then yes, something was grilled at some time.

I knew coming in, it would be good. I had a bite of one of my daughter’s tacos before showing, and it was quite tasty. The taco above was quite good as well. And I’m left a little mystified, as how they could grill anything and come up with a taco that looks like it spent most of its time in a pot of boiling water.

I think I’ll leave that one to the fast food philosophers, or the french fry poets.

Meats? Essentially two choices here, chicken and steak, with fried fish as one seafood option and fried shrimp as another (they do have that fried thing going). No tortas, but burgers are possible. I recall quesadillas, as well as a meatless option.

Hot sauces turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Both their sauces and their salsas are good, better I think, than the food they grace. DelScorcher, their medium sauce, has some bite and the hot salsa has some richness to it and balance.

It’s also going to be open 24 hours, so this Del Taco helps fill a void in the Snellville life style, as most of the restaurants around here tend to close by around 9-10pm.

In summary? Very typed, lots of buzz, lots of press and crowds currently. Food doesn’t look very appealing to me, but better tasting than it looks. They have hot sauces whose packets are worth hoarding.

Del Taco
1895 Scenic Highway
Snellville, GA 30078
(770) 978-0361

Del Taco on Urbanspoon

Note: The wifi here not only does not work, the signal from the nearby McDonalds is stronger in the store than is Del Taco’s own wifi signal. It would be best to bring a mifi or a tethered phone when you come.

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