Taco Bell's Making a New Crispy Taco With a White Corn Shell

The test item comes as the chain cuts several menu options.

Courtesy of Taco Bell
Courtesy of Taco Bell

Taco Bell is officially removing more than a dozen menu items -- including all options made with its crispy potatoes -- on Thursday, but that doesn't mean the Crunchwrap peddler isn't working on entirely new creations that will appear on the menu in the future. In fact, just as the downsized menu went into effect, the chain formally unveiled its latest test item: the Catina Crispy Melt Taco.

As Taco Bell explains, a freshly fried white corn shell serves as the foundation for the new taco. The shell is then filled with melty nacho cheese sauce and three-cheese blend, seasoned beef, reduced-fat sour cream, lettuce, cheddar cheese (yes, more cheese), and tomatoes. Of course, the chain is quick to point out that you can order a vegetarian version of the taco by swapping the beef for black beans -- a not so subtle nod to vegetarians, many of whom feel the chain did them dirty with the elimination of potatoes.

"Taco Bell is known for its craveable, indulgent food innovation," a spokesperson said in a press email. "As the brand continues its menu evolution, the Cantina Crispy Melt Taco is giving the Detroit market an elevated experience of the iconic Crunchy Taco."

Courtesy of Taco Bell

For now, the Cantina Crispy Melt Taco is exclusive to Taco Bell locations in the Detroit area, where you can order it alone for around $2 or as part of a combo meal for $5. If it proves to be a success, there's a good chance it'll find a home on the menu nationwide. 

The taco's arrival on the scene -- albeit in one city -- signals that Taco Bell intends to eventually fill the void left by the menu items that were retired as of August 13, such as the 7-Layer Burrito, Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes, and Nachos Supreme. In fact, the company views the menu cuts as "phase one" of a broader "menu evolution," according to a recent report by Forbes.

“We need to make sure right now that we are giving consumers what they want and that they’re getting it through the drive-thru. In order to do that, slimming down and streamlining operations really enables a quicker, speedier experience for consumers,” Heather Mottershaw, Taco Bell’s vice president of Product Development, told the publication. “But this is phase one. What this also does is, when the time’s right and consumers are ready, it allows us to build out new options and new innovations.” 

Basically, it's OK to feel down about losing some of your go-to menu items, but on the bright side, there's reason to be excited for what's to come. Also on the bright side, you can still order the insanely cheesy Grilled Cheese Burrito and the $5 Grande Nachos Box is currently back on the menu for a third time. 

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Tony Merevick is Senior News Editor at Thrillist. Send news tips to news@thrillist.com and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.