LIFESTYLE

First Taco Bell location, a walk-up stand from 1962, moved and saved for posterity

The world's first Taco Bell restaurant, background, in Downey, Calif., as a photo of the restaurant taken in the 1970s is displayed, foreground.

The world's first Taco Bell restaurant, background, in Downey, Calif., as a photo of the restaurant taken in the 1970s is displayed, foreground.  (ap)

Taco Bell is rescuing its first restaurant by moving it to another city.

The taco chain said Wednesday that it is saving its first restaurant from demolition by lifting it from its 53-year-old foundation in Downey, California, near Los Angeles, and moving it 45 miles southeast to Taco Bell's headquarters in Irvine.

The restaurant, nicknamed Numero Uno, was opened in 1962 by founder Glen Bell as a walk-up taco stand with live music and fire pits. It closed in 1986, and other restaurants took over the space until it was emptied last year. Taco Bell is now owned by fast food operator Yum Brands Inc., which is based in Louisville, Kentucky.

"This is arguably the most important restaurant in our company's history," Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol said in a statement.

The entire structure, which is about 400 square feet, will make the move Thursday night. It will stay in storage at Taco Bell's headquarters until the company figures out what to do with it. Suggestions will be taken from customers.

"We had to step in," said Niccol. "We owe that to our fans, we owe that to Glen Bell." The Taco Bell founder died in 2010.

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