Thursday, May 12, 2011

Awesome Dude Series: No. 6 - Naugles Restaurants (Bring Them Back!)

Naugles Run!!!!!!!!
This was the call of the wild when I was in High School! When starvage hit me, or anyone, it was grab anyone’s ride and get there! Naugles was also the most popular hangout for dudes after a Friday night football game, or any night you wanted to hang with friends and eat awesome Mexican food! Big food! It was also a cheap date, and a way to impress the ladies because they dug Naulges also! I had a friend actually get the okay from his Prom date to make Naugles their dinner option before the Prom! Dude, stories like that, the great taste and the memories are what make Naugles a member of my Awesome Dude Series!

My favorite was the Macho Combo Burrito, double wrapped, extra cheese! Dude, beans, meat, cheese, more cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, Macho sauce and more cheese heaped high in two warm, monster flour tortillas (it took two to hold everything in)! Awesome!

Speaking of cheese, they also had the only Cheese Burrito known to man! And what about their famous Egg Burritos! I can remember sitting in the parking lot for 15 or 20 minutes until 11pm hit, just so I could score one or two of those bad boys!

Del Taco, who bought the Naugles franchise in 1986, has now become my favorite late night munchies option, and I know that Del Taco kept many of the Naugles favorites on their menu, but, dude, it’s just not the same!

For my readers who never had a Naugles in your area…total bummer! For all of you who missed out, and for you Dudes outside the US, here’s the scoop on a So Cal fast-food icon from the 1970s and 80s!

Naugles 101:
Naulges was a Southern California fast-food Mexican restaurant chain that existed from 1970 to 1988. It was founded by former Del Taco employee Dick Naugle. The first Naugles Restaurant Location  was at the southwest corner of Fourteenth St. and Brockton Ave. in Riverside, California (now a Del Taco). Dick's motto was "Prepare food fresh, Serve customer fast, Keep place clean!"

Harold Butler purchased Naugles in 1979 when the chain consisted of three restaurants. Butler built Naugles up to 225 restaurants by 1986, when he sold the chain to Collins Food International. Naugles merged with Del Taco in 1988. A few of the Naugles menu items, such as those with the "Macho" designation, found their way into the regular Del Taco menu. Also, the Naugles Taco Sandwich (Del Taco called it a "bun taco") can still be ordered from Del Taco even though it does not appear listed on the menu. A few independent franchises kept the Naugles name until 1995.

Email Del Taco and tell them to bring Naugles Restaurants back!! I contacted Del Taco to inquire about a Naugles return. I’ll have the results in another blog after they get back with me.

NAUGLES FANS: I know many of you dudes have Naugles stories that we all want to hear!  
Tell us your favorite Naugles story. What was your favorite Naugles Menu item?
Where was your Naugles hangout?

Also: Facebook is looking to remove or archive the Naugles Fan Page. Say NO to FB, keep the page alive! Naugles Run!!!

Keith Poletiek is the creator of Dude and Dude, a nationally produced comic strip distributed by United Feature Syndicate and seen daily on Follow Keith and Dude and Dude on Facebook.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

1986 OP Pro Riot at Huntington...Dude, I was there!

As a kid, the Op Pro Surf Contest in Huntington Beach (my hometown) was always a WILD event to attend for all of us. But, in 1986 it went from an event to a full blown RIOT! In the seventies, young beach kids from my neighborhood would flock to the Op Pro! It was an awesome chance to see our favorite surfers up close and watch them rip it up. We only saw snapshots of them in magazines otherwise! I was luckier than most kids when it came to seeing all the action. Most people had to hang out and watch from the bleacher on the sand, or be at the beginning of the pier looking out or at the end of the pier looking back. The prime location was near the lifeguard tower at the middle of the pier, but that place was saved for VIP's only. Or, for a young grommet like me and a couple of friends who were tight with the head of Parks and Rec - who gave us passes every year to go wherever we wanted. Dude, we were hooked up! We would stand for hours, hanging over the rail just below the tower and cheer for pros right in the waves below us. David Nuuhiwa, was my idol at the time. I even had Dyno David Nuuhiva Surfboard that I couldn't surf because it was too short and too fast for me. Everyone wanted to buy it off me. No way, dudes!
I watched as the Op Pro swelled with people every year, and the numbers did tend to get out of control. Then there were sponser changes, I grew older, I went off to college, got married and didn't make the scene for years. I even lived "inland" because of my job location. I should have stayed at the beach and commutted for sure. Once you have that salt air in your system, it's hard to get rid of. I'm back in Huntington Beach now...Amen!

In 1986, my newlywed wife and I decided to brave the Op Pro once again. It had been a long absence. Too long! My wife's family had a friend who owned a home on PCH right next to the Wind and Sea surf shop and he was hosting an open house if we'd like to come down....Yes!

We watched some great surfing. Watched the crowd grow. Felt the heat rise. Then headed back to get some food. My wife wasn't interested in staying for the Miss Op Pro Contest, and for the first time ever, either was I. Marriage will do that to you!

The rest of the event, and that whole day, is still kind of a blur.  From inside the house we could hear people shouting, then screaming, then running by the house in panic. Someone ran upand yelled, "It's all kinds of crazy at the pier! It's a riot and it's out of control!"

Though the stories differ from one person to another, the best analogy we gathered was that some girls on the pier decided to show the crowd that their racks were just as hot as the Miss Op chicks, who were getting all the attention, so they flashed everyone. The crowd called for more and the girls responded until the police decided to put a stop to it, and when they did, the crowd decided to put a stop to the police for putiing a stop to the show and "Boom" it all went crazy!

I watched in horror as people fought police and lifeguards, police cars and ATVs were turned upside down and lit on fire. Bottles flew over the house I was in, breaking on the asphault and on cars in the parking lot. People pushed one way, then riot police with shields push the other way. I've only been scared a few times like this in my life! Thank God the crowd didn't decide to trash our house and our cars. Some dude walked up to me and said, "Do you have a band-aid, man. I cut my foot on broken glass." His foot had a 3 inch slice that almost went to the bone!

"Dude, you need more than a band-aid! Get to the hospital!"

Believe it or not, while all this was going on, there was still a surf contest happening! Here's a trivia question? Who won? I think it was Occy, but I'm not sure! Not many people cared! "Live now, surf later!"

Arrests were made. The contest was cancelled for awhile. New rules were put in effect. I believe the Miss Op Contest went away, and I was left with an incredible surfing memory that is still talked about today, and still makes me say...dude!

Where were you Labor Day, 1986? Were you there? What do you remember?....Dude, we'd all like to know!

Keith Poletiek is the creator of the Dude and Dude comic strip. A daily cartoon distributed by United Feature Syndicate and seen on the web at Sign up and receive your "daily dose of dude" each day along other great comic strips on your own personal comic page email.

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