Eventually, Guerrette faded out of the project, and Gomez, too, lost interest for several years. It wasn’t until Gomez and his friend Emma Sinclair, who’s a graphic designer, decided a few years ago to redesign the site. That’s when they integrated the Google Maps interface to better visualize the Chili Cheese Burrito’s whereabouts. It was a savvy move, as the site illustrates the regionalized pockets where the item thrives. And ChiliCheese.org’s current presence on social media sites like Facebook, Reddit, and especially Twitter allow Gomez and Emma to coordinate directly with fans about sightings and share their love for the item.
Thankfully, Taco Bell took notice of the site and offered assistance (to Gomez in order to keep Chili Cheese Burrito fans informed. “In February, they gave us the [location] data,” Gomez says. Then Taco Bell sent out a tweet, notifying its nearly two million Twitter followers of the existence of the site.
Gomez says that he and the site have softened their previously adversarial tone towards the chain. Gomez credits other online-based campaigns to reinstate discontinued fast-food items, like the Beefy Crunch Movement, for helping the company realize that these uber-fan campaigns can be beneficial for the company. While the Beefy Crunch Movement has seen minor success in getting the chain to bring back the dish the chain still hasn’t committed to a national introduction for the Chili Cheese Burrito -- yet. But Gomez’s site includes a FAQ page that details how fans can keep pressuring Taco Bell to revive it coast to coast, which includes consistently calling local locations and asking if they carry it.
Inspired by Gomez’s quest to catalog the Chili Cheese Burrito’s whereabouts, I figured I’d help him confirm locations that carried the item, as I, too, grew up inhaling Chili Cheese Burritos. For the last six years I’ve lived in New York City, a veritable Chili Cheese Burrito desert. But when I first looked at Gomez’s map, I was surprised to see one location in the city allegedly carried the burrito: the store off E. 103rd Street in Spanish Harlem. I enthusiastically phoned the restaurant but went straight to voicemail. After six more attempts, a man’s rushed voice finally picked up and answered my question: Do you guys still carry Chili Cheese Burritos?
“Nah, baby, they keep those in the Midwest. The east coast don't want ‘em." Then he hung up.