One of its most recent successes in screaming “I want this to be a thing now!” is Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza. It first appeared on the Tex-Mex fast-food chain’s menus in 1984 as the “Pizzazz Pizza.” The restaurant chain changed its name to its more familiar one two years later.
The Mexican Pizza name came about because of a lawsuit. The owners of a Cleveland, Ohio, pizza restaurant called Pizzazz Pizza took Taco Bell and its parent PepsiCo to federal court in 1986, alleging the fast food chain violated its trademark and used deceptive advertising practices to market its “pizza,” according to court records.
The Mexican Pizza became one of Taco Bell’s signature dishes until Yum! Brands, its current owner, discontinued it in 2020. The company removed the item because of supply chain and sustainability issues caused by the pandemic, which forced them to cut back on complicated menu items.
Now that life has somewhat returned to normal, the Mexican Pizza is back on the menu and the internet has won another meaningless battle in the quest to give more money to huge corporations. Is it really a win though?
The Mexican Pizza is not terrible. In fact, it’s good, but it doesn’t even come close to the hype it received — namely a TikTok musical with Dolly Parton and Doja Cat that will premiere on May 26.
The Mexican Pizza is just another way for Taco Bell to rearrange its core ingredients to create the illusion of a different dish even though the taste is the same as a standard taco or Crunch Wrap. The “pizza” part of the dish is just two round tostadas with beans and ground beef spread in between them and melted cheese, diced tomatoes and mild sauce (which you always get unless you specifically request against it) on the top layer. If you’re trying to watch your weight or don’t believe in eating meat, there’s a “veggie” option that’s just the same as above but without the ground beef.
Then it’s cut into four triangular pieces across its diameter, which is a relief because it would seem impossible to eat as a whole, especially for a drive-thru item. Outlawing the eating of frisbee-shaped foods while driving should’ve been on Ralph Nader’s lobbying efforts list to ensure driver safety.
All of these ingredients work well together to create something tasty but not in the realm of something that merits petitions with more than 170,000 signatures.
The tostada chips are crispy even under the weight of gloppy cheese and oily sauce and even warm when delivered by a phone app delivery service. The crispiness also holds up as you make your way to the center of the circle in each piece.
The beef is what delivers the flavor. It’s also the only thing that’s seasoned, so you’re missing out on the only real bit of flavor if you decide to go down the veggie route.
The return of the Mexican Pizza is good but didn’t make fireworks go off and uplifting music swell like at the ending of a movie when the little guy wins the big fight.
If Taco Bell offered a “Supreme” option that added more vegetables and things like sour cream and guacamole, or if there is a secret version you can order that I don’t yet know about, then it might be worth the effort that everyone put into bringing it back from the dead.