Steve Gomez’s first encounter with a Chili Cheese Burrito happened at his high school cafeteria. He walked through the lunch line one day to figure out what to eat. At his particular high school, students had the option to either pick from the school’s food or pay a little extra to get something from Subway, Pizza Hut, or Taco Bell. He was looking for something that deviated from the standard lunchtime fodder, so he grabbed a Chili Cheese Burrito for his meal. Little did he know, but he had stumbled upon one of Taco Bell's most beloved cult items.
While Taco Bell is “living más" in 2018, filling its menu with items that test the limits of fast food, it was much simpler in the early 90s. In 1990, the chain introduced the Chili Cheese Burrito -- a concoction that literally was just chili and cheese inside a flour tortilla -- and included it within its budget-friendly 59-79-99 (cents) deal. At the higher price of 99 cents, one could purchase things like the chicken soft taco, while 59 cents (plus tax) would net you a plain taco or an order of cinnamon twists. But for 79 cents, you could get two of the chain's more interesting options.
Customers could get either a MexiMelt, a soft taco-like item that is still available today, and the Chilito, which would later be renamed the Chili Cheese Burrito. The Chili Cheese Burrito was simple but unique: Its seemingly cumin-heavy, spicy beef chili differed from the standard ground beef found in Taco Bell's burritos and tacos. The Chili Cheese Burrito also came with a thick layer of melted cheese that blended with the beef and warm flour tortilla. The end result was a slim-ish, short burrito proved that all you need is cheese and meat wrapped inside a flour tortilla for a satisfying fast-food bite.