East Van's Taco Ding Dong pays tribute to a gloriously trashy American original, right down to the chihuahua

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      Sometimes the last thing you want from a taco is extra-fancy. There’s no denying the appeal of seared Ahi tuna with wasabi-mayo, pickled onion, and chipotle-dusted Carabao mango. But when it’s 2 a.m. and you’re six cans of Superflux Fountainbier Orange Cream into your evening, nothing hits the spot like, say, Taco Bell.

      Which is too bad if you live in hipster-central East Van, because Taco Bell’s three Lower Mainland franchises are all in the ’burbs. And the last time we checked, the only time you’re getting across the border to America—where there’s a Taco Bell on every second block—is to re-create scenes from the last reel of The Heartbreak Kid.

      Enter Taco Ding Dong, brought to you by the folks at the Narrow Group, which you know from Slim’s BBQ, Uncle Abe’s, and Key Party.

      In the spirit of the American fast-food chain founded by California's Glen Bell, the driving philosophy of Taco Ding Dong is that no one needs to be paying $15 for a taco. While the Superfab Cheese Nachos will run you $15, all mains and starters are between $4 and $6, with meat, chicken, and Beyond Meat a couple bucks more.

      In a further homage to Taco Bell, the thinking at Taco Ding Dong seems to be that no one need feel bad for going to town on an order that would make nine out of 10 nutritionists, fitness trainers, and Food Network hosts blanche.

      Inspired by Taco Bell’s menu, Taco Ding Dong is serving up offerings like the Cheesy Gordita Crunch (hard taco with cheese, wrapped in a soft tortilla) and Rock’n Super Crunch Wrap (beans, three cheeses, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, sour cream). Sound like you might need something a little more hefty? The 7-Layer Blaster Burrito features rice, beans, lettuce, three cheeses, guacamole, tomato, and sour cream with the option to add chicken, beef, or Beyond Meat.)

      The downside for those who love nothing better than stumbling into a Taco Bell bleary eyed after a night at the bar is that there’s no actual brick-and-mortar Taco Ding Dong. But considering that we’re in the middle of a pandemic and all, there are certainly worse things than the ghost-kitchen concept, especially considering Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats will deliver your takeout. Hours of operation are seven days a week from 4:20 p.m. (fire up that roaster!) to 11:30 p.m. (nothing wrong with one more shot of Sons of Vancouver Chili Vodka as a pre-dinner warm-up).

      Click here for more details. And don’t forget to check out the Taco Ding Dong merch, which ranges from T-shirts to buttons, all emblazoned with an East Van Taco dog that looks like the Taco Bell Chihuahua’s straight-off-the-mean-streets cousin. Ahhh, East Van.