Taco Bell launches upscale 'taproom' chain

The new restaurant, the first of which will open this summer, features premium tacos, fries, craft beer and wine.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 24, 2014 12:20PM
© Taco BellBy Hayley Peterson, Business Insider

Taco Bell is launching a new upscale taco chain.

The restaurant, called U.S. Taco Co. and Urban Taproom, will feature a menu of 10 premium tacos, thick-cut fries, milkshakes, craft beer, and wine, according to Nation's Restaurant News, an industry publication. 

The first location is set to open in Huntington Beach, Calif., this summer. Taco Bell declined to elaborate on expansion plans.

Here are some of the menu items, according to NRN.

  • Winner Winner: Southern-style fried chicken breast with South of the Border gravy, roasted corn, pico de gallo, jalapenos, and cilantro in a flour tortilla.
  • One-Percenter: Lobster, garlic butter, red cabbage slaw, and pico de gallo on crispy fry bread.
  • Brotherly Love: Carne asada steak, grilled peppers and onions, roasted poblano queso, and cotija cheese in a flour tortilla.

The side of fries comes with dipping sauces including "ghost chile ketchup" and "roasted poblano crema." One of the beer-spiked milkshakes on the menu, called the "Mexican Car Bomb," has vanilla ice cream, tequila caramel sauce, chocolate flakes, and Guinness.

Tacos will be priced at about $4 each, and the average check size is expected to be roughly $12 with a drink. 

Customers won't be able to customize their tacos like at Chipotle, but they will be able to watch their food being made.

"Most dishes will be prepared in-house, in glass-enclosed kitchens that allow guests to see meat grilling or tacos in the works -- though a few ingredients will come from outside suppliers, like the Texas smoked brisket or Southern pulled pork," NRN reports.

The new concept is meant to attract a demographic of higher-income edgy foodies who would never step foot inside a Taco Bell.

"We could spend time and money trying to get these people interested in Taco Bell," but they would probably never become regular customers, Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed told Ad Age. "We thought, maybe there's a new brand we can create to address this opportunity."

More from Business Insider
Apr 24, 2014 1:49PM
Hey, maybe The movie Demolition Man may be right. Taco Bell will become the only resturant.
Apr 24, 2014 1:35PM
Beer and Taco Bell, sounds like a porcelain bomb in the making... Maybe they will give out complimentary matches with every order?
Apr 24, 2014 1:15PM
Wolphi ......little education...Guinness is not German its Irish
Apr 24, 2014 12:41PM
I wonder if they will use real meat.
Apr 24, 2014 2:43PM
We first thought it read,  "  Tampon Chain  "
If your co-worker screams across the  airport lobby  that they are going to pick up lunch/what do you want?

Never say .......

"Mexican Car Bomb,"

Apr 24, 2014 3:17PM
Apr 24, 2014 12:39PM
Mexican Tacos and German Beer.  What's more American than that?!
Apr 24, 2014 2:35PM
That's a long way from 17 cent tacos in 1965 that you got from a walk up window and ate at a concrete table out in the sun.
Hey remember enchiritos and pintos and cheese?
These days,  Taco Bell's menu is too diverse and the items are too expensive.  And what's with the made up items like waffle breakfast whatevers? 
Yikes.  Gimme back the good old days.

Apr 24, 2014 2:48PM
Taco Bell does not serve Mexican food. It may have Mexican names but that's it.
Apr 24, 2014 3:28PM
My favorite local taqueria serves fantastic, made from scratch tacos.  They use real meat from regional ranchers, real vegetables from local farmers, and all the money stays in my local community.  A pork taco at this fine establishment....$2.75.

Taco Bell's new "taproom" taco of highly questionable meat, GMO & pesticide veggies, all on a GMO corn or flour tortilla.....$4. 

Which would YOU rather spend your money on?

Apr 24, 2014 2:29PM
I foresee many confused Mexicans looking for the Tap Dat **** Room. 
Apr 24, 2014 2:40PM

A thinly....thinly desguised excuse to cahrge more for the same ol' stuff.

Cha-ching !

Apr 24, 2014 2:24PM

I still haven't tried the Waffle Taco yet...

Taco Bell is on a roll.

Apr 24, 2014 2:54PM
  A place that serves tacos and pitchers of beer and only tacos and beer. Cheap tacos fifty cents each and just one kind of beer. People could write on the walls as to how many tacos and pitchers they had.Like a competition for bragging rights. Nothing for the food police (who needs them) Not a place for faint of heart or weak sisters. Maybe pitchers of soda for the kids? When the walls get filled up just paint em up and keep goin.  Am I nutts? Ican see one comin to a college town near you.     
Apr 25, 2014 12:34AM

"Premium Taco Bell Taco" =  $7.99


"Pint of Craft Taco Bell Beer" = $6.00


"Going back for second's" = $ 13.99


"Sh!tting your pants for the first time sense you were a toddler"= Priceless

Apr 24, 2014 2:33PM
"The new concept is meant to attract a demographic of higher-income edgy foodies who would never step foot inside a Taco Bell."

Guess thats not me. I happily go to Taco Bell, but I wouldn't step foot inside this yuppie place.
Apr 24, 2014 1:54PM
Awesome! I live in Huntington Beach!  I'll get to check this out!
Apr 24, 2014 2:24PM

I don't do Fast food...but wow...that sounds like an AWESOME combination to me.

Apr 24, 2014 1:12PM
Great......... now the help can wash the salt down with a beer after they lick your taco shell.
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