Taco Time Landmark Eligible?

taco time_blog2The local grassroots advocacy group, Save Our Fast Food Icons (SOFFI), announced today, April 1, that they are preparing a landmark nomination form for the Taco Time building at 2212 N 45th Street in Wallingford. The City of Seattle’s threshold age criterion for landmarking is only twenty-five years and the building retains high physical integrity.

Built in 1990, the Taco Time building sets itself apart from the usual corporate fast food restaurant chain architecture. Its style is more akin to late 1980s to 1990s small, commercial, suburban design characterized by its cube-like form, grid of glass walls, drive-thru window, and the tall, cactus-shape sign that calls out to drivers traveling along a major arterial.

Many recall the Taco Time nostalgically, “I was a frequent patron of Dick’s Drive-in in Wallingford during my years as an Art student at the UW,” says Seattle native and designer Alex Faker, “I watched the building being erected and thought it was another dental office. Then I saw the drive-thru and wondered if it would be a place to get tacos and dental work done!”

Founded in 1962, the same year of the Seattle World’s Fair, Taco Time is a Northwest institution. The company’s full impact on the region’s built environment is explored in the landmark nomination. SOFFI hopes to raise awareness and appreciation of our fast food heritage—many of these small one-story buildings on large urban lots are fast disappearing, a victim of Seattle’s density-at-all-costs mentality and development pressure.

One detractor (who wishes to remain anonymous) asks, “Really? Seriously? Is this an April fool’s joke? If the Taco Time building is a landmark then I can’t wait to get my Magnolia McMansion landmarked in a few years. I think Taco Time should fight this nomination. I know some good land use lawyers in town who will charge a lot of money to argue for their property rights. What if the building gets designated? Can Taco Time change out the windows and replace with vinyl? What’s next? Pizza Hut?”

SOFFI realizes they’ve got an uphill battle and will be seeking support for landmark status and hopes all you Taco Time fans out there come out to support this fast food icon. It’s about time!

Photos: Joe Mabel (GNU Free Document License granted by photographer)