The Taco Bell on Walnut Hall of Fame is a passion project of mine that I started about two years ago in order to chronicle the best of the worst moments that have taken place in and around one of Bloomington’s most historic landmarks. For the uninitiated, the Taco Bell of Walnut is roughly a combination of the island of Tortuga, as depicted in Pirates of the Caribbean, Fyre Fest, and the last flight out of Cabo San Lucas International Airport on the Sunday after spring break. It is a beloved Bloomington institution, though to be clear, this Hall of Fame is about the late-night content creators who frequent Taco Bell, not the restaurant itself.
It can be a modern-day Oregon Trail experience. One time, while waiting in line to order, I watched a friend of mine trade a Hawaiian shirt to a complete stranger in exchange for a jean vest. It didn’t matter that there was about an eight-inch height difference between them. I think both parties won that trade.
It’s where another friend of mine once walked out of the restaurant and just happened to be in possession of a chair. Not sure how. He loaded it up in the back seat of a pledge ride, but the 5-0 got called and they boxed in the poor freshman’s car, telling ol’ Sticky Fingers they’d arrest him if they ever saw him on the property again.
The Taco Bell on Walnut can be the home of impromptu NFL Combine tests. It’s where another friend of mine once showed off his 16” vertical leap and ripped the “Order here” sign from the ceiling, before turning and running a blistering 5.8-second 40-yard dash out the front door, only to have the woman working the register turn in a 6.3-second three-cone drill time that was worthy of a first-round draft grade. She ran from behind the counter, caught him before he left the property, reclaimed the sign and went back to her post without missing a beat.
Ah, shit, now I’m noticing a pattern about my choice of friends. I think Trillballins tweeted about something like this one time.
Love: Aaron Rodgers, Antonio Bryant— Chris Gaines fan (@trillballins) September 8, 2017
Hate: That feeling when you think your friendships are built around drinking https://t.co/Z2Cv8CyqP7
This is the kind of behavior you’ll find within the one-block radius of the cultural and geopolitical epicenter that is the Taco Bell on Walnut.
A few weeks ago, a friend told me about a kid that he knew at IU who, on his way home from the bars, would regularly buy three pizzas at a time from the Domino’s that’s about a block and a half up the street. He’d eat one pizza that night, save the second for the next day and physically throw the third pizza on the way home.
Just some rational, normal human behavior right there. From about the 200 block to the 500 block of north Walnut Street, there’s no telling what you’re going to see or hear, and almost any story that takes place there is believable.
Without further ado, here’s the Taco Bell on Walnut Hall of Fame:
Former IU basketball player Austin Etherington once appeared to have a grown woman throw a drink in his face, then shove him like she was blocking the strong-side linebacker at the second level on a jet sweep.
I fear for my life every time I go to the Taco Bell on Walnut, this time because there is a homeless man stirring coffee with SCISSORS— kendall (@kendallpow007) February 26, 2017
Last night I made friends with the GM of the Taco Bell on Walnut after I told him I admired his authoritarian regime— Damian Fetscher (@Damian_Fetscher) September 25, 2015
@IUPD_Btown are there rules in Bloomington about towing cars? I've seen 7+ cars towed tonight from the Taco Bell on Walnut. Can't be fair.— Dan (@DNiersbach) November 4, 2017
@Louis_Gonzalez I once had some drunk guy come up to the car window & paid for all of our food so he could get some lol— εlïʐαвετh јεαṉ (@Beth_Shafer) September 28, 2013
Who gives 73 cents in nickels?! Taco Bell on walnut. That's who!— Chad Hartsock (@chartsock24) July 26, 2014
Is this real life? People walking through the Taco Bell drive-thru. Only at #IU pic.twitter.com/JjFYRPBqKM— Ashton Flynn (@shakinthatASH) April 12, 2013
Dani & I are about to fight these old, hairy, sweaty construction workers at taco bell at IU... #truecolors now that kcs outta town.. #leggo— nicolette goranson (@Nikki_G34) August 3, 2011
The crack heads are legit out in full force at Taco Bell on walnut rn— (@sasalele__) March 24, 2017
Throw back to when I proposed to some random girl at the Taco Bell on Walnut https://t.co/n2xpfNtaO7— Tyler Stephens (@opTYmus260) November 12, 2018
Sat next to Johnny and Dee Dee Ramone in the B-town Taco Bell after their 1981 show at the IU Auditorium. Still have their milk cartons. https://t.co/f0RgzpRRun— Mark Eccles (@EckDaddy) February 16, 2017
My last Wednesday at IU and @tacobell doesn’t have “burrito stuff”. Get it fixed— Casey Gore (@caseygore4) April 25, 2019
People literally act like zombies when the Taco Bell on walnut closes. Like we are surrounded by drunk zombies.— Lucas Lyons (@LuKiss_MyAss) January 30, 2015
None of these testimonials are more relatable than this one:
Keep telling myself to never go to the Taco Bell on Walnut but somehow I always end up there— RAISIN BRAN (@What_WeLive) March 26, 2015
Do you have a Taco Bell on Walnut story that’s worthy of Hall of Fame consideration?
The Hall of Fame Committee is open to write-in nominations at @crimsonquarry. We don’t condone any illegal behavior, but if you’ve got a story that occurred in or around the border of the autonomous but turbulent city-state known as the Taco Bell on Walnut that you’re willing to put your name to and you don’t think would harm the future of your professional career or lifelong relationships, then we’re all ears.