Thinking outside the bun: At long last, a Taco Bell for Pinckney

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It’s been about six months since I’ve written anything for this space, and I guess I was just waiting for a good reason to start tapping away again. Well, I’ve got one.

Taco Bell is coming to Pinckney.

Wow. It felt so good to write that, that I’m going to write it again.

Taco Bell is coming to Pinckney.

Man, that feels good. Taco Bell is coming to Pinckney.

And now, my life’s work is complete. I can die a happy man.

Ever since 1984, when Livingston County’s first Taco Bell opened in Brighton, it’s been my mission to make sure that all five of the county’s major population centers got one.

My crusade began in 1988 or so, when I wrote a column offering the opinion that it was bordering on criminal that Brighton had a Taco Bell, while Howell did not. Sadly, that’s a trend that continues to this day – Brighton getting more cool stuff than Howell does. I mean, just look at the scorecard.

Brighton has two Panera Breads. Howell has none. Brighton has an Olive Garden and a Costco. Howell has none. Brighton has an Ugly Naked Guy. Howell has none.

And so on and so on. I won’t even MENTION the roundabouts, because the folks in Howell might just start to break down and cry because they’re so envious.

It was the same way back in the 1980s. Brighton was living high on the hog with its Taco Bell, while Howell was forced to make do with its 67 or 68 McDonald’s (I forget how many there were back then). It just wasn’t fair, and I said so in my column – again and again and again. It got to the point where I couldn’t go 10 words without mentioning the fact that Howell didn’t have a Taco Bell.

The reason I cared so much is because my office was in Howell, and I didn’t like that I had to drive 20 miles round trip every day just to enjoy a tostado, six tacos, eight burritos and four Burrito Supremes (or Burritos Supreme, whichever is grammatically correct). That was my standard lunch back then. At the insistence of my wife, I have since cut it back to a tostada, six tacos, eight burritos and just THREE Burritos Supreme. That woman is a slavemaster.

In any case, that historic injustice was finally righted in 1990, when Howell’s Taco Bell opened for business. Technically, the Taco Bell was in Genoa Township, but it was close enough for my liking. Howell had a Taco Bell.

In the 1990s, the taco wave spread to the west and east, as both Fowlerville and Hartland got their Taco Bells. (Or is it Tacos Bell?) All we needed to complete the burrito was for Pinckney to get one, too. Or Hamburg. Anything along M-36 would have sufficed.

Instead we got … nothing. The 1990s came and went, and the 2000s came and went, and still, no Taco Bell along M-36. Pinckney did get a McDonald’s and a Wendy’s, but as we all know, McDonald’s and Wendy’s ain’t the same as a Taco Bell.

About three or four years ago, we started hearing rumblings that Pinckney was finally going to get a Taco Bell. We heard there might be one at Pettysville Road and M-36. We heard there might be one near the village. But each time, the rumor turned out to be just that – a rumor.

Well, a couple weeks ago, the sight we were finally waiting for became a reality. Some bulldozers showed up across the street from Busch’s Valu-Land and started knocking down a couple buildings that were there. A short while later, village officials confirmed it:

Taco Bell is coming to Pinckney.

I don’t know how long it’ll take for the place to open up, but heck, I’ve waited 27 years, so I can certainly wait a few months longer. And it’s interesting to note that I’m not the only one who’s looking forward to seeing the Taco Bell chihuahua come to town. The Pinckney Taco Bell has become a major topic of conversation on Facebook, particularly on two pages – “Are you a true Pinckneyite???” and (my favorite) “Pinckney Needs a Taco Bell!”

That’s right – there’s a Facebook page called “Pinckney Needs a Taco Bell!” And what’s even more amazing is that I didn’t start it! It was founded in early 2010 by a Pinckney High School student named Nick LaForge (who is my new hero), and at last count, it had 447 members. If you haven’t done so yet, you should go there right now and become No. 448.

On the other Pinckney-centric Facebook site (“Are you a true Pinckneyite???”, which was started by Rick Beaudin), the new Taco Bell is also all the rage. Some folks are happy about it (“Awesome! I can stop there for my kids when we leave town after a visit with Grandma”) and some are not-so-happy about it (“Do we really need another ‘heart attack in a bag’ place in town?”), but everyone’s talking about it.

Including me. It took the Pinckney Taco Bell to get me out of my shell and writing for again, and now that I’m back, I’ll try to be a regular correspondent once again.

In fact, I’ve already got a topic for next week’s column: Don’t you all think that Gregory needs a Taco Bell?

You can reach Buddy Moorehouse at

About Buddy Moorehouse 124 Articles
Longtime Livingston County journalist Buddy Moorehouse is director of communications at the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.