Repositioning of the tandem aromatic residues (Trp-209 and Tyr-210) at the cytoplasmic end of the second transmembrane helix (TM2) modulates the signal output of the aspartate/maltose chemoreceptor of Escherichia coli (TarEc). Here, we directly assessed the effect of the residue composition of the aromatic anchor by studying the function of a library of TarEc variants that possess all possible combinations of Ala, Phe, Tyr, and Trp at positions 209 and 210. We identified three important properties of the aromatic anchor. First, a Trp residue at position 209 was required to maintain clockwise (CW) signal output in the absence of adaptive methylation, but adaptive methylation restored the ability of all of the mutant receptors to generate CW rotation. Second, when the aromatic anchor was replaced with tandem Ala residues, signaling was less compromised than when an Ala residue occupied position 209 and an aromatic residue occupied position 210. Finally, when Trp was present at position 209, the identity of the residue at position 210 had little effect on baseline signal output or aspartate chemotaxis, although maltose taxis was significantly affected by some substitutions at position 210. All of the mutant receptors we constructed supported some level of aspartate and maltose taxis in semisolid agar swim plates, but those without Trp at position 209 were overmethylated in their baseline signaling state. These results show the importance of the cytoplasmic aromatic anchor of TM2 in maintaining the baseline TarEc signal output and responsiveness to attractant signaling.