Eight locations; most open Sun-Thu, 11am-11pm, Fri & Sat, 11am-midnight
I would love to have been a fly on the wall at the board meeting where the incestuous commingling of Church's Fried Chicken and Mucho's Mexican Food was given the thumbs-up. Decisions like these either land you in the "Movin' on Up" column of the company newsletter or on your rumpus at the employment commission.
In the topsy-turvy, laugh-in-the-mouth-of-death world of Nineties fast food, the key to survival is culinary narrowcasting: Be everything to everybody everywhere. This is why we have McDonald's in Wal-Mart, Taco Bell in Doritos, and now, Mexican food (only bigger) at a fried chicken hut. It's all about convenience.
Of course, the Church's/Mucho's juggernaut isn't a winning combo for everyone. Church's employees are now essentially working at two fast food restaurants for one paycheck. The increased traffic and additional taco-building stations seem to have impaired the overall efficiency of the kitchen, but we humans can adapt to any number of impositions, so it shouldn't be long before the almighty bourgeosie can get their chicken and tacos with the lightning-fast speed they expect and demand.
But what will John Q. Public taste when he bites the big burrito? Can Mucho's stack up against Taco Bell, the undisputed fast-food choice of Generation Pierced?
Well, quantity is a quality, and Mucho's certainly delivers on that front. Their soft tacos are almost the size of San Francisco burritos, and their burritos are roughly the size of newborns. Not surprisingly, the chicken tacos reign supreme. You get plenty of seasoned chunks o' fowl that go down heartily, easily outdoing the competition's semi-shredded edition. The monstrosity is topped with lots of lettuce and cheese, along with sour cream and a mild salsa that barely aspires beyond ketchup.
The nachos come with the same mutant orange queso that makes going to the stadium so much fun; it takes you back to those New Frontier days, when such artificial yumminess was en vogue. Be sure to ration your dippin' sauce, though, because Mucho's gives you approximately two Frito-Lay Big Grabs' worth of tortilla chips.
Unfortunately, Mucho's beef product is no match for Taco Bell's mirth-inducing zest. In fact, my palate found Mucho's meat to be more akin to shredded tamale pork than ground chuck. The flavor's just not there, and quite frankly, it tastes a little weird. Another beef I have with Mucho's is the lack of beans on the chalupas. Even though the chalupa shell is as big as a Nerf, Jr., football, such an expanse is spiritually vacuous in the absence of the frijole ghost.
Perhaps the true strength of the Church's/Mucho's marriage is the endless potential for unorthodox meal combinations. Do you want fried okra with that burrito? How about some mashed potatoes with your nachos? It's opportunities like these that make me proud to be an American, where at least I know I can sate my jones for tacos and gizzards at one sitting. - Greg Beets