Taco Bell is gracing fans around the world with a new menu item: the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa. With 6-month aged sharp cheddar cheese baked into the taco shell, the creation is clearly an attempt to appeal to cheese lovers everywhere.
The dish will make its nationwide debut Thursday, the same day the taco chain will officially ax nine menu items, including the Cool Ranch flavored Doritos Locos Taco and the Fiery Locos Taco. The menu revamp is part of an effort to create space for newer items.
Yahoo Finance put the new Toasted Cheddar Chalupa to a taste test ahead of the launch. Despite sitting in a box for some time while on transit to the studio, the Chalupa still maintained a good crunch.
There is a distinct cheddar flavor to the Chalupa, but it isn’t overwhelming or overpowering. The lettuce, tomato, and sour cream do a good job balancing out the sharp cheddar and seasoned beef. Yahoo Finance did not taste test the chicken and steak versions. All will sell for $2.49.
“That was more impressive than I thought it was going to be,” Zack Guzman, host of Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM, said after taking a bite of the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa.
Though it was more impressive than initially anticipated, Guzman admitted that he had a low bar going into the taste test and gave the taco-like chalupa a 3 out of 5 star rating.
The Chalupa first hit Taco Bell menus in 1999 and instantly became a fan favorite. Since then, the chain has launched different variations of the dish, such as the Double Chalupa, Baja Chalupa and the Naked Chicken Chalupa.
According to Taco Bell, the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa is the largest international release of a menu item since the Naked Chicken Chalupa in 2017. For a limited time, the cheesy taco will be available in the U.S., Aruba, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama and Puerto Rico.
“At Taco Bell, we get excited by the ‘what ifs’ we can dream up and bring to life for our fans — and the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa is an example of just that,” Taco Bell’s Chief Food Innovation Officer Liz Matthews said in a statement. “We know cheese makes everything better, and baking aged cheddar into the shell of an already iconic product is a game changer our fans will love.”
Taco Bell is just one of the fast-food chains that is looking to generate buzz and boost traffic through new menu innovations. Recently, Popeyes launched its chicken sandwich, and due to the high demand is officially sold out across the nation until further notice.
Taco Bell continues to be the star of the Yum Brands (YUM) family. The taco chain has seen strong sales momentum, and in its most recent quarter, same-store sales grew at a healthy 7%, eclipsing expectations for 3.8% growth.
Shares of Yum Brands have jumped nearly 30% this year, as of Monday’s closing price, while the broader market is up 20% in the same time period.
This post was originally published on Sept. 9, 2019.
Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.
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