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Taco Bell's New Spinoff Chain Takes A Stab At The Gourmet Taco Trend

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Taco Bell is stepping up to take on the next generation of gringo tacos with a chain called U.S. Taco Co.The new chain, which will debut in Huntington Beach this summer, is and isn't like its fast casual competitor Chipotle. There's no drive-thru and customers are going to end up dropping more money than they normally would for Fourth Meal (on average about $12 versus $7). But unlike Chipotle's build-your-own-burrito concept, the menu items are "chef-driven."

As its name suggests, U.S. Taco Co. is a very American take on tacos drawing from U.S. regional cuisine. We saw this coming and rolled our eyes a bit, but the gourmet taco loaded up with any kind of filling you can imagine (well, almost any kind of filling) has gone mainstream. Here's what's on the menu, according to Nation's Restaurant News:

On U.S. Taco Co.’s menu are offerings like the “Winner Winner,” which features Southern-style fried chicken breast with “SOB,” or “South of the Border” gravy, roasted corn pico de gallo with fresh jalapenos and fresh cilantro in a flour tortilla. The “One Percenter” features fresh lobster in garlic butter with red cabbage slaw and pico de gallo on crispy fry bread.

The “Brotherly Love,” is a nod to the Philly Cheesesteak, with carne asada steak, grilled peppers and onions, roasted poblano queso and cotija cheese (rather than Cheez Whiz), and fresh cilantro in a flour tortilla.

On the side: “papas fritas,” which resemble steak fries, coated with habanero dust and dipped in housemade sauces such as ghost chile ketchup or roasted poblano crema. Guests can also order their fries loaded with taco ingredients sans tortilla as a “secret menu” option.

The prices are gourmet, too: tacos will cost about $4 each. There will be craft beer, and shakes spiked with beer, like the "Mexican Car Bomb" (get it?), which features vanilla ice cream, tequila caramel sauce, chocolate flakes and Guinness Stout. But there's no margs, which is probably just as well at this point with prices for limes
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And in keeping with the increasing commercialization of Dia De Los Muertos, the logo will be a calavera and the color scheme will be vibrant yet patriotic: red, white and blue.

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