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IndustryFast food
FateMerged with Del Taco
SuccessorDel Taco
Founded1970; 49 years ago (1970) in Riverside, California
FounderDick Naugle
Defunct1995; 24 years ago (1995) (last locations in Nevada)
Number of locations
Area served
Southern California; Nevada; Utah; St. Louis, Missouri; Orlando, Florida; Chicago, Illinois (list not complete), U.S
ProductsMexican fast food

Naugles was a Southern California fast-food Mexican restaurant chain that existed from 1970 to 1995. A revived Naugles chain was established in 2015 by entrepreneur Christian Ziebarth, after it was ruled that the trademarks had been abandoned by the original company's successor, Del Taco.


Naugles was founded by former Del Taco partner Dick Naugle. The first Naugles restaurant was located at the southwest corner of Fourteenth St. and Brockton Avenue, in Riverside, California (now a Del Taco). Naugle's motto was "Prepare food fresh. Serve customer fast. Keep place clean!"

Harold Butler purchased Naugles in 1979 when the chain consisted of three restaurants. The chain was expanded by a system of non-exclusive franchises, which later was ruled unlawful by a federal court.[1] Butler built Naugles up to 225 restaurants by 1986, when he sold the chain to Collins Foods International.[2] Naugles merged with Del Taco in 1988 when businessman Anwar Soliman purchased both companies at nearly the same time.[3][4] A few of the Naugles menu items, such as those with the "Macho" designation, found their way into the regular Del Taco menu. Also, the Naugles Taco Sandwich (Del Taco called it a "bun taco") can still be ordered from Del Taco even though it does not appear as an item listed on the menu.

Later in May 1989, Soliman announced that he was going to convert most of the 171 Naugles locations to Del Taco by the end of that summer.[5] By the time Soliman sold the integrated company in January 1990 to a four-member group of Del Taco managers led by President Wayne W. Armstrong, there were 59 Naugles left with 25 located in California and 34 located in Utah, Nevada, Missouri and Arizona with 290 Del Tacos in California plus a lone Del Taco in Arizona.[6] In August 1992, only 31 Naugles in the states of Utah, Nevada, Missouri, and Illinois remained with all the locations in California had been converted.[7]

In March 1994, Del Taco converted seven of 8 remaining Naugles locations in Nevada to the Del Taco brand. The last Naugles to close in Nevada was in 1995, in Carson City, Nevada. That Hwy 50 Naugles Carson City location was not converted to a Del Taco, but in late 1995 became a Carson City Restaurant called China East.[citation needed] Del Taco stated that the Nevada conversions led to a great increase in sales at those locations.[8] Seven months later, Del Taco announced it had completed converting all six remaining Naugles locations in the state of Utah in October 1994.[9] In December 1994, Del Taco announced that they have finished converting all four Naugles in the metropolitan St. Louis area.[10] According to the 1994 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the four Naugles locations in St. Louis were the last sites that were converted to Del Taco.[10]

The last four remaining Naugles locations, all in Nevada, closed in 1994-1995. In the Las Vegas area, 3 restaurants closed circa 1994/95. The last Naugles location, in Carson City Nevada, on Hwy 50 East, closed in 1995.[citation needed]


IndustryFast food
Founded2015; 4 years ago (2015) in Fountain Valley, California
FounderChristian Ziebarth
Number of locations
Area served
Fountain Valley
Huntington Beach
ProductsMexican fast food

In August 2006, blogger Christian Ziebarth posted a remembrance page on his year old Orange County Mexican Restaurants blog site on how he missed the defunct Naugles restaurant chain and wanted Del Taco to bring back some of the old but unique Naugles food items.[11][12] In a short time, he received comments from hundreds of others who felt the same. So much interest was generated by his webpage that a Del Taco public relations staffer contacted Ziebarth to see how Del Taco could take advantage of this renewed interest.

On May 31, 2012, the Orange County Register reported that a group was attempting to revive the Naugles brand.[13] On July 9, 2013, the OC Weekly ran a similar story, with the author of the piece mentioning he had tried some Naugles taco sauce.[14]

On March 31, 2015, Christian Ziebarth won a judgment from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board,[15][16][17] allowing the restaurant to return to life as a new standalone spot in Fountain Valley, California. In the years since he first applied to take up the Naugles trademark and menu (back in 2010), Ziebarth went on to re-create the original menu and its flavors from scratch, hosting pop-up dinners at various locations to further gather ground support.[14]

Ziebarth and his backers decided to open a "test" kitchen to help shape the brand and on July 25, 2015, the Fountain Valley location had a "soft opening" primarily for fans from an unofficial Facebook fan page.[18] The current menu includes bean and cheese burritos, hard and soft-shelled tacos, cups of beans, drinks, and more. The Naugles location is at 18471 Mt. Langley Street in Fountain Valley.

Less than a week later, the restaurant had difficulty keeping up with demand and had to "close indefinitely" so that its owners could "pause and reboot" before determining their next plans as the result of this unexpected turn out.[19][20] By the end of the first week, it was determined that they needed to change their initial plans since the turnout caught them by surprise. It is too early to tell if the initial success would continue to sustain the company or if this might be a flash in the pan since the company still needs to develop procedures and find a better location that could handle the crowds without breaking their bank account and not upsetting their neighbors by the increase in traffic.[21][22] The restaurant is currently open 7 days a week from 8 AM to 8 PM.

The revived Naugles opened its first daily operating location at 21351 Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach on May 28, 2016, taking over a former Wahoo's Fish Taco across from the Waterfront Hilton.[23] The initial lease was for the summer of 2016. At the end of this time, Ziebarth said he would evaluate the performance of the operation at this location before deciding to renew the lease or move to a different location.[24] In June 2017, the company announced that the temporary seasonal location on Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach would be replaced with a new permanent restaurant located on Warner Avenue. At the time of the announcement, no dates were given when the new location might be ready for business.[25][26][27]

In popular culture[edit]

In the original Naugles TV commercials, the character of Señor Naugles was played by two successive character actors, Roger C. Carmel and comedian Avery Schreiber. [28]


  1. ^ Foss, Nicolai J.; Mahnke, Volker (2000). Competence, Governance, and Entrepreneurship: Advances in Economic Strategy Research. Oxford University Press. p. 235. ISBN 0-19-925981-X. OCLC 50614726. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  2. ^ Granelli, James S. (1986-04-18). "Collins President to Lead Rescue Effort Naugles' Losses Rise; Firm Makes Several Big Changes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-08-05.
  3. ^ Galante, Mary Ann (1988-03-30). "Newport Man Completes Naugles, Del Taco Purchase". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-08-05.
  4. ^ Galante, Mary Ann (1988-02-02). "Ganging Up on Taco Bell: Restaurateur Will Merge Del Taco, Naugles to Battle Industry Leader". Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ Rowe, Jeff (May 17, 1989). "Adios to Naugles Fast-food chain to switch to Del Taco". Orange County Register. p. c01. Restaurant magnate Anwar Soliman, who owns both chains, said Tuesday he will convert most of the 171 Naugles restaurants into Del Tacos by the end of the summer. Soliman's company, AWR II Acquisition Corp., converted two Naugles, at 2300 N. Tustin Avenue in Santa Ana and in Long Beach, about two months ago as a test. Link via ProQuest.
  6. ^ O'dell, John (January 5, 1990). "Del Taco/Naugles Inc. Acquired in Buyout". Los Angeles Times. A four-member management group, headed by company President Wayne W. Armstrong, acquired the privately held chain from Newport Beach restaurateur Anwar Soliman for an undisclosed price. GE Credit financed the buyout by Del Taco management: Armstrong, who is also chief executive officer, and three corporate vice presidents--John Crofton, Harold Fox and Paul W. Hitzelberger. The four are equal partners in the acquisition. ...290 Del Tacos and 25 Naugles in California, the 34 Naugles in Utah, Nevada, Missouri and Arizona and the single Del Taco in Arizona.
  7. ^ Reckard, E. Scott (August 18, 1992). "Fast-food competition heating up". Las Vegas Review-Journal. p. 6D. Del Taco Inc., the nation's No. 2 Mexican fast-food chain in sales, owns or franchises 31 Naugles restaurants in Utah, Nevada, Missouri and Illinois and 289 Del Tacos, all but one in California. Link via ProQuest.
  8. ^ "Las Vegas Conversions Paying Off in Big Sales at Del Taco Restaurants". Los Angeles Times. March 18, 1994. Del Taco Inc. said Thursday that it has converted seven former Naugles restaurants in Las Vegas into Del Tacos, and seen big sales increases as a result. He said that since the change, the restaurants saw sales increases ranging from 70% to 180% compared to the same period last year.
  9. ^ "Briefly". Salt Lake Tribune. October 12, 1994. p. B4. Del Taco Inc. has opened six restaurants along the Wasatch Front, completing a $1 million changeover of former Naugles restaurants. The Southern California-based chain has opened restaurants in Salt Lake City, Ogden, Orem, Sandy, American Fork and Roy. Link via ProQuest.
  10. ^ a b Faust, Fred (December 5, 1994). "All Saints' Church Loses A Round to Insurance Firm". St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Five Star ed.). p. 7. Naugles, meanwhile, has changed the name of all its outlets to Del Taco. St. Louis was the last area to get the changeover. Two weeks ago, the four metropolitan locations were closed for renovations and have now reopened as Del Taco. An ad campaign is under way to introduce the name. Link via ProQuest.
  11. ^ Arellano, Gustavo (April 9, 2015). "How an OC Food Blogger Is Bringing Back Naugles by Beating Del Taco". OC Weekly. In 2005, Ziebarth began O.C. Mexican Restaurants, a blog on which he reviews local eateries. In August 2006, he posted a short remembrance of Naugles. It had such staying power--comments and search-engine referrals from across the world--that Ziebarth kept updating the post with old photos of Naugles hats and menu items and, finally, a petition asking Del Taco to bring back Naugles menu items.
  12. ^ Luna, Nancy (October 26, 2014). "Remember Naugles? Blogger fights Del Taco to revive defunct fast-food brand". Orange County Register. In 2005, he began chronicling his Mexican dining experiences through an online journal: Orange County Mexican Restaurants. In 2008, his popularity peaking, Ziebarth caught the attention of a Del Taco publicist. During a meetup at a Del Taco in South County, the spokeswoman asked Ziebarth: "If there’s anything you could change to our menu, what would you do?" His answer came swiftly. "Bring back Naugles items. People have not forgotten about them."
  13. ^ Luna, Nancy (2012-05-31). "Is Naugles making a comeback?". Orange County Register.
  14. ^ a b Arellano, Gustavo (2013-08-09). "Naugles, Legendary SoCal Mexican Fast-Food Chain, is Trying to Make a Comeback, and We Have the Proof". OC Weekly.
  15. ^ Luna, Nancy (April 1, 2015). "Naugles comeback: Local food blogger wins trademark case against Del Taco". Orange County Register. The record unequivocally shows that respondent (Del Taco) ceased operating the last restaurant bearing the Naugles name on October 25, 1995.
  16. ^ Slavick, Scott (June 1, 2015). "New life for Naugles? Del Taco dinged at TTAB: Mexican-themed restaurant chain loses mark to abandonment". InsideCounsel. Del Taco’s own witness testified that the company had stopped using the Naugles mark as the actual name of a restaurant on October 25, 1995.
  17. ^ "Christian M. Ziebarth v. Del Taco, LLC" (PDF). Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. United States Patent and Trademark Office. March 31, 2015. Cancellation No. 92053501
  18. ^ Sharon, Keith (July 31, 2015). "Fast Food: Naugles' return brings on waves of nostalgic eaters: Naugles -- which was born in Riverside -- has reopened in Orange County, much to the delight of patrons who remember it as the hang-out spot in the '70s and '80s". Riverside Press-Enterprise.
  19. ^ Luna, Nancy (2015-08-05). "Where did Naugles go? Swamped by fans, the reborn fast-food brand plots limited hours, weekends-only service". Orange County Register.
  20. ^ Elliott, Farley (2015-08-04). "Naugles Remains Shuttered as Unending Lines Cripple Fledgling Restaurant". Eater LA.
  21. ^ Elliott, Farley (August 5, 2015). "Just Like That, Naugles Returns With Weekend-Only Hours". Eater LA.
  22. ^ Luna, Nancy (August 5, 2015). "Fast food hero or failure? Naugles' co-owner faces fan support and backlash". Orange County Register. There was a possibility that we could have opened and had a small trickle of customers come only once or twice and then forget about it. Then Naugles would have breathed its last dying breath and be gone for good. Because of the overwhelming response, we had to temporarily close our doors to meet requirements from the city and our landlord.
  23. ^ Elliott, Farley (May 27, 2016). "Fast Food Legend Naugles Reborn at Surprise Location in Huntington Beach". Eater. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  24. ^ Luna, Nancy (May 26, 2016). "Naugles at the beach: Nostalgic chain to open beachfront concession in Huntington Beach". Orange County Register.
  25. ^ Luna, Nancy (June 19, 2017). "Naugles opens another location in Huntington Beach, and this one is permanent". Orange County Register.
  26. ^ Zint, Bradley (June 20, 2017). "Naugles plans a second Mexican fast-food location in Huntington Beach". Los Angeles Times.
  27. ^ Elliott, Farley (June 22, 2017). "Fast Food Lovers Rejoice as Shuttered Naugles Earns First Real Location in 23 Years: The company is jumping from their test kitchen space into a full new build-out". Eater LA.
  28. ^ Savan, Leslie (1994). The sponsored life: ads, TV, and American culture. Temple University Press. p. 241. ISBN 1-56639-245-4. OCLC 30517503. Retrieved 2008-05-10.