AS the long battle to open a Taco Bell outlet in Bathurst shows no signs of ending just yet, Orange has won the race to host the first outlet of the Mexican-inspired chain.
Diehard taco fans travelled hundreds of kilometres, and some even had a day off, to be the first to sample the menu on Tuesday.
At 10am an excited crowd were queuing at the front of the new store at 52-54 Bathurst Road as it opened to the public for the first time.
First to arrive was Orange medical student Paul Rozenbroek, 25, and a group of his friends.
"Me and a few mates all decided to take the day off and head over," he said.
"We got here at 9.30am and we were the first in line, which was either the highlight or rock bottom of my life - I haven't figured out which one it was just yet," he joked.
"We've had (Taco Bell) in Sydney and London, so we decided to try it over here as well.
"I went for a Crunchwrap, a California Burrito and some chips. It's unreal, it's good food."
Maddy Dukes, 23, and Zoe Cook, 24, came all the way from Forbes to check out the new eatery, arriving about 20 minutes before the 10am opening.
"We saw it on Facebook and decided we wanted to come down. We've seen it over in America in videos and stuff and we were excited to try it.
"I got a Taco and Zoe got the Crunchwrap Supreme."
Hedley Wilson, 25, also drove more than 100 kilometres, coming from Parkes to visit the store after seeing it on social media and hearing about it from his boss who lives in Orange.
"It just happened to be my day off so I decided to make a day out of it," he said.
"It's the first Taco Bell I've seen, so it's good to come and try it."
He said he was impressed with the inside of the store.
"It's nice in there, they've got wireless chargers everywhere, it looks awesome."
"I got a sample pack type thing with three different tacos in it - I'll give it all a go.
"I think I'll come here next time I'm in town that's for sure."
By 10.45am the first 100 customers had already come through the doors, each receiving a free t-shirt and a signature oversized taco hat.
While the the 40-seat dining room remained closed for the opening due to NSW Health guidelines, customers were still able to get a good look inside the new store, which features three self service kiosks, a digital jukebox, free Wi-Fi, charging pads and free soft drink refills. They could also watch their order being made while they waited through the large kitchen viewing window.
The drive through was open too, with a steady flow of cars throughout he morning.
The restaurant will look to launch delivery later in the year.
Taco Bell spokesperson Kasey Collins said the vibe at yesterday's store launch was ''really good."
"Everybody's really excited. The team's really excited and all of customers have been really happy and have said the food's really great."
About 35 staff were on deck for opening day. The store will employ 70 locals, including a four person management team.
The fast-food franchise will continue to accept employment applications for casual or full time for positions via its website.
Taco Bell Orange will be the seventh Taco Bell restaurant in NSW, bringing the national total to 24 stores.
Opening hours are Monday to Sunday from 10am to 10pm.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: