Taco Bell Spinoff: US Taco Co. and Urban Taproom to Sell Gourmet Mexican

Friday, 25 Apr 2014 07:13 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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A month after expanding its existing menu to include breakfast, Taco Bell is launching a sit-down spinoff restaurant in an effort to stay current with its evolving foodie demographic.

The first U.S. Taco Co. and Urban Taproom will open in Huntington Beach, Calif., later this summer and its target will be millennials who frequent places like Panera and Chipotle, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"A year ago, we conducted an extensive study on our consumer segmentation and identified a separate consumer group that simply was not going to visit quick service restaurants, at all," Jeff Jenkins, Taco Bell senior brand manager, said in a statement. "The result is U.S. Taco, a new concept sit-down restaurant that offers the best fusion of American-inspired flavors in tacos, fries, and shakes for that emerging demographic of edgy foodies looking for a unique dining experience."

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At U.S. Taco, customers won't get just plain old French fries; they'll get papas fritas with habanero dust, ghost chile ketchup, and roasted poblano crema. They won't just order a steak taco; they'll get the "Brotherly Love" taco with carne asada steak, grilled peppers and onions, roasted poblano queso, cotija cheese, and cilantro.

"Everyone in the U.S. has become a foodie," Jenkins told USA Today. "The first thing young people do in a restaurant is take out their camera and take a picture of their food — and post it on Instagram."

According to the Times, U.S. Taco is already planning to open a second location in the Los Angeles area, which will serve beer, wine, and a special "Mexican Car Bomb" made with vanilla ice cream, tequila caramel sauce, chocolate flakes, and Guinness stout.

The Huntington Beach location will not serve alcohol, the Times noted.

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