Boston University & Taco Bell: A Love/Hate Relationship

Share This

College students are hungry. It is part of the nature of being young, in school and poor of pocket; a cheap meal is a student’s best friend. That is why the issue of local eateries is always a big deal on a college campus, especially if they are near the dorms. Sometimes the local restaurants even cause controversy. Take for instance the case of Boston University and Taco Bell.

Until 2008, the fast food taco joint had a prime location on BU’s campus, in Warren Towers, the second-largest dorm in the nation and home to many of the school’s underclassmen. Despite its convenience for lunch on-the-go or for a late night snack, its time at BU did not last.

In the four years I attended BU, the campus dining arena saw many healthy improvements, namely the Sargent Choice (named for the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences) menu options available in the dining halls. But while snack packs of carrots and celery or low-fat muffins became readily available, there was still “late nite” dining open until midnight, serving curly fries and chicken tenders.

After the excitement of welcoming pinkberry to Comm Ave this semester, the campus dining discussion at BU has moved from frozen yogurt to the “Fourth Meal.” There is a rumor that Taco Bell is returning to BU in 2013 which was endorsed in a tweet by the university’s dining services.

I came to Warren Towers right after Taco Bell had been replaced by a Starbucks — there are now four on campus. There is nothing wrong with a Starbucks, college kids need them some caffeine. But, many students with extreme intestinal fortitude lamented the exit of Taco Bell. Boston University president Robert A. Brown humorously addressed the controversy at the senior breakfast in 2008, giving seven possible reasons why Taco Bell was leaving.

“The first is obvious, if you think about it,” Brown said in 2008. “I am from Texas, and these are the worst tacos I have ever tasted.”

The rooms in Warren Towers don’t see much change – I lived in the same cinderblock-walled dorm room as my uncle did in the 70s – the retail dining locations on campus rotate like a merry-go-round. Olecito, crowned the No. 1 burrito in Boston, cropped up in 2009, but left this year to make room for Jamba Juice. Who doesn’t love juice? Really though, what is a student supposed to do to get a decent burrito at BU?

There are 23 dining locations around the BU campus. If one meal doesn’t quite get a student through ’til morning, many of the dining halls have late night hours.

Taco Bell or no Taco Bell, students at BU have plenty of options when it comes to their next meal … or their Fourth.