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Long-Dead Mexican Fast Food Franchise Naugles Reopens Today in Fountain Valley

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Thanks to the work of one man.

Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

One man’s quest to bring about the return of a long-gone local fast food chain has apparently reached its zenith. Today, local web developer Christian Ziebarth will get to witness the rise of Naugles from a pile of ashes more than 25 years old.

Anyone living in Southern California in the early 1980’s may well remember Naugles, which started in Riverside before expanding though franchise agreements to more than 200 locations, eventually being sold off and merged with Del Taco in 1988. The larger brand decided to take on a few of the popular Naugles menu items, but otherwise shuttered all of the locations within seven years.

Local diehard fan Ziebarth decided a few years ago to attempt to revive the brand he loved so much, except there were some serious legal hurdles to clear with the Del Taco folks. Attempting to work with Del Taco directly received a less-than-warm reception, so Ziebarth jumped at the chance to grab the lapsed Naugles trademark. Of course, that didn't sit well with Del Taco.

Fast-forward to today, and Ziebarth has won a judgment from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, according to the OC Weekly, allowing the restaurant to return to life as a new standalone spot in Fountain Valley. In the years since he first applied to take up the Naugles trademark and menu (back in 2010), Ziebarth has gone so far as to recreate the menu from scratch, hosting pop-up dinners as a way to further gather ground support.

It’s all worked. On March 31, the courts sided with Ziebarth, and now Naugles is up and running at 18471 Mt. Langley in Fountain Valley. The menu includes bean and cheese burritos, hard and soft-shelled tacos, cups of beans, drinks, and more. Stop by if you’re partial to the old Naugles, or just like supporting the small-time folks in fights against giant food corporations.

18471 Mt. Langley
Fountain Valley, CA

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