Glen Bell

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Glen Bell
Glen Bell.jpg
Glen William Bell Jr.

(1923-09-03)September 3, 1923
DiedJanuary 16, 2010(2010-01-16) (aged 86)
Resting placeRancho Santa Fe, California
Years active1948–2010
Known forFounder of Taco Bell restaurants
Spouse(s)Martha Bell
ChildrenKathleen Bell, Gary Bell and Rex Bell[1]

Glen William Bell Jr. (September 3, 1923 – January 16, 2010)[1][2] was an American entrepreneur who founded the Taco Bell chain of restaurants.

Born in Lynwood, California, Glen Bell graduated from San Bernardino High School in 1941.[3] He served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a cook during World War II. After the Marines he started his first hot dog stand 'Bell's Drive-In', in San Bernardino in 1948.[4][5] In 1952, he sold the hot dog stand and built a second location selling hot dogs and hamburgers. He soon started selling tacos at a taco stand named Taco-Tia at 19 cents each from a side window.[clarification needed] Between 1954 and 1955, he opened three Taco Tias in the San Bernardino area, eventually selling those restaurants and opening four El Tacos with a partner in the Long Beach area.[6]

Glen Bell learned how to make Tacos from the Mitla Café.[7][8][9]

In 1962, he went solo and sold the El Tacos to his partner and opened his first Taco Bell. Bell franchised his restaurant in 1964.[4] His company grew rapidly, and the 868-restaurant chain was later sold to PepsiCo in 1978 for $125 million in stock.

West Side and Cherry Valley Railroad[edit]

In the late 1970s, Bell opened a tourist railroad at Tuolumne, California. .[10] This 3 ft (914 mm) gauge railroad used the lower section of the track and several steam locomotives of the West Side Lumber Company railway. The operation offered boat rides on the old mill pond and RV parking. It closed in the early 1980s after failing traffic.[11]


Bell died from Parkinson's disease on January 16, 2010, at age 86 in Rancho Santa Fe, California. He was survived by wife Martha, two sons, a daughter, four grandchildren, and three sisters.[12][13][14][15][16]


  1. ^ a b Hevesi, Dennis (January 18, 2010). "Glen W. Bell Jr., Founder of Taco Bell, Dies at 86". The New York Times. Retrieved January 18, 2010.
  2. ^ Kitchen, Michael. "Taco Bell founder dies at age 86". MarketWatch.
  3. ^ "San Bernardino City Schools – Official Website – Distinguished Cardinal Citizens". December 7, 1936. Archived from the original on October 20, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Taco Bell founder dies at age 86". NBC News. January 18, 2010. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  5. ^ Meares, Hadley (September 16, 2016). "Transforming the Taco: The Origins of Taco Bell". KCET. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  6. ^ "Taco Bell | Our History". Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  7. ^ Elliott, Farley (January 30, 2015). "Taco Bell Wouldn't Exist Without San Bernardino's Mitla Cafe". Eater LA.
  8. ^ Morehouse, Lisa. "So much more than tacos: San Bernardino's Mitla Cafe".
  9. ^ "Newsletter: The best thing our restaurant critic ate this summer". Los Angeles Times. September 14, 2019.
  10. ^ Cook, Walt (January 19, 2010). "Taco Bell founder remembered". The Union Democrat.
  11. ^ Rowland, Marijke (September 3, 2015). "Strawberry Music Festival returns to Tuolumne". Modesto Bee.
  12. ^ AP (January 18, 2010). "Taco Bell founder dies at age 86". Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  13. ^ Oliver, By Myrna. "Glen W. Bell Jr. dies at 86; founder of Taco Bell". Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  14. ^ "Taco Bell founder Glen W Bell dies aged 86". Daily Telegraph. January 19, 2010. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  15. ^ "Glen Bell, Founder Of Taco Bell, Has Died". Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  16. ^ "Glen W. Bell Jr".