Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza Had a Different Name in 1985: Remember?
(NEXSTAR) – Mexican pizza is coming back, but it’ll never be as sizzling as it was in 1985.
Taco Bell fans are counting down the days until the return of Mexican pizza, a specialty offering that was removed from the chain’s menu in 2020 to make way for new dishes. The item — a pizza-tostada hybrid featuring pizza sauce, beans, cheese and other toppings layered on crispy tortillas — had developed something of a cult following over the years, everyone from Doja Cat to Dolly Parton, declaring themselves fans.
“I think they should [bring it back]Parton told Insider in January 2022, echoing the more than 171,000 people who signed a Change.org petition demanding that Taco Bell resurrect Mexican pizza.
The Mexican pizza that many of these fans know and love, however, is slightly different from the one that debuted in Taco Bell restaurants in 1985. Marketed as “Pizzazz Pizza”, Taco Bell’s original recipe included sliced olives and green onions in addition to the familiar ingredients seen in more recent iterations.
“It’s a different kind of pizza that only Taco Bell offers,” advertised a 1985 Pizzazz Pizza ad campaign. “It’s cheesy as pizza, but it’s really crispy and light.”
In 1988, the chain officially rebranded Pizzazz Pizza as Mexican Pizza. There is evidence that the owners of a Cleveland-area pizzeria filed an unsuccessful trademark dispute with Taco Bell and PepsiCo in 1985 over the name, but it’s unclear if this factored into the rebranding of Mexican Pizza. A Taco Bell representative was unable to provide additional details.
Either way, Mexican pizza remained on the menu at Taco Bell for more than three decades, even as olives and scallions were phased out of the recipe.
Then, on November 5, 2020, Taco Bell announced the unthinkable: Mexican pizza was being taken off the menu for “[pave] the way to fresh new ideas. The item’s packaging was also cited as a hindrance to Taco Bell’s “commitment to leaving a lighter footprint on our planet,” the chain said in a press release.
But less than a year after Mexican pizza left the menu, Taco Bell was already supposed to bring it back. In September 2021, a report on Living Mas – a Taco Bell fan site – said executives announced the imminent return of Mexican Pizza at a franchise convention in Colorado Springs, Colorado, citing leaked images of the ‘event.
Taco Bell remained mostly silent amid the rumors (aside from a few hints here and there) until April 18, 2022, when the chain announced that its Mexican pizza would return to national menus in May.
“While rumors of the return of Mexican pizza have been swirling for months, it has not been publicly confirmed until now,” Taco Bell wrote in a press release Monday, just a day after the singer and Rapper Doja Cat took credit for bringing back Mexican pizza during her April 17 performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
“By the way, I brought back the Mexican pizza,” Doja Cat shouted mid-song. (The recording artist had partnered with Taco Bell during a recent campaign.)
What Doja failed to mention, however, is that Mexican pizza won’t officially return to Taco Bell’s menu until May 19. But when it does, Taco Bell plans to offer discount codes, combo deals, and more sustainable packaging with flashier graphics — which is about as much pizzazz as fans could hope for, aside from the olives. and green onions.
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