I first heard about Naugles from fellow blogger Christian Ziebarth who was giving me bits and pieces about the connection when I mentioned how much we love Del Taco. In 2006, Christian posted on his blog how much he missed Naugles and through readers’ comments, realized he wasn’t alone.
But before going into the Naugles revival, I want to give those of you who, like me, did not grow up here, a little background. Naugles was founded by former Del Taco partner Dick Naugle, in Riverside, California. Dick’s motto was “Prepare food fresh. Serve customer fast. Keep place clean!”
In 1979, Harold Butler purchased Naugles when the chain consisted of three restaurants and later expanded by a system of non-exclusive franchises. Butler built Naugles up to 225 restaurants by 1986, when he sold the chain to Collins Foods International.
Naugles merged with Del Taco in 1988 when businessman Aniwar Soliman purchase both companies at nearly the same time. A few of the Naugles menu items are still available on the Del Taco menu including the Naugles Taco Sandwich (Del Taco calls it a “bun taco”). A year later, Soliman announced that he was going to convert most of the 171 Naugles locations to Del Taco by the end of that summer. By 1994-1995, all Naugles were either converted to Del Taco, or closed.
Back to current day, on March 31, 2015, Christian Ziebarth won a judgment from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board allowing the restaurant to return to life as a new stand-alone spot in Fountain Valley.
Last week, I had the opportunity to try Naugles for the first time. The menu is small, but the tacos are good… REALLY good. I loved how fresh the soft chicken taco is, how it tastes like something I would make at home. Most of my friends dig into their burgers, or the ubiquitous bun taco. Those are stellar as well. If you are a fan of fries, the Naugles fries are solid!
If you’ve been feeling nostalgic for Naugles, or are a first timer like I was, here’s a chance to WIN a $20 giftcard to check it out. Leave a comment (with your full name) and tell me why you think you should win. Entries close on Dec 23rd, 2017.
18471 Mt. Langley Street
Fountain Valley, CA 92708