Taco Tuesday has been a thing for as long as we can remember! But did you know your favorite day of the week is trademarked? BELIEVE IT! Taco Tuesday® has been a registered trademark of Taco John’s, one of the largest Mexican restaurant chains in the United States since 1989. If you're not familiar with Taco John's it's probably because the Wyoming-based chain mainly operates in the Midwest.
Two other restaurants claim to have started the trend of Taco Tuesday. Tortilla Flats, a now-closed restaurant in Laguna Beach, California, received a California state trademark in 1984. Gregory's Restaurant and Bar in Somers Point, New Jersey, trademarked the name in 1982 (thus the reason the Taco John's trademark doesn't apply in New Jersey).
But the truth is, the phrase has been around long before Taco John's, Tortilla Flats, and Gregory's Restaurant and Bar chose to trademark it.
According to Thrillist, some say the earliest-documented advertisement for a Tuesday taco special can be found in the classified section of the October 16, 1933, edition of the El Paso Herald-Post. Under the headline "Some Good Things to Remember," the White Star Cafeteria at the St. Regis launched a weeklong campaign to let everyone know it sold "Mexican Tacos" on Tuesday -- three for just 15 cents.
But the first true documented use of “Taco Tuesday” appeared in the August 20, 1973, edition of the Rapid City Journal in South Dakota. Under the drawing of a Spanish flamenco dancer, the Snow White Drive In asked people to “Stop in on Taco Tuesday.”
Although every couple of years, Taco John's sends cease-and-desist letters to small restaurants who use the phrase Taco Tuesday® and force them to stop under threat of further legal action, this hasn't deterred businesses across the United States to use the phrase that today has become a cultural phenomenon. Taco Monday, Taco Tuesday, Taco Thursday, Taco Friday, Taco Saturday, Taco Sunday, they all sound good to us and there's no stopping us from gettin' our taco on!