Taco Bell and Del Taco are two of the undisputed heavyweights of the Tex-Mex fast food game. Both originating from Southern California, the pair have endured comparatively mixed fortunes on the global stage. Taco Bell is a giant, with over 6,500 locations worldwide. Del Taco, meanwhile, has a smaller, dedicated cult following, with a mere 550 branches across 15 states.
Fans have debated ferociously over the various merits of each chain. However, there was always one defining difference between the two brands - Del Taco's offer of French fries. When the chips are down, it's difficult to argue against a lack of fries making Taco Bell a far less tempting proposition. They may not be Mexican, but they are delicious.
However, for the first time this year, it seemed as though this glaring omission from the burrito kings may about to be rectified. After a cryptic exchange on Twitter between Taco Bell and former Blink 182 bassist and singer Mark Hoppus, the chain insinuated that fries were on the horizon. Fans waited with bated breath. A month went by, with no further news.
Now, however, we can announce to the relief of Taco Bell enthusiasts everywhere, that fries are finally inbound. The chain has released a new series of fry-focused burritos at test sites in Charleston West Virginia, with plans to take the creations nationwide, should initial reception prove positive.
And what creations they are. Building on the blueprint of the SoCal style California burrito - staple of surfers all along the West Coast - the new items are loaded with Taco Bell favorites as well as French fries. Coming in three varieties, each option sounds more delicious than the last.
The original California burrito features guacamole, cheese, meat, salsa and a whole lot of crunchy fries. Taco Bell's take on the classic keeps it traditional, only swapping shredded cheese for nacho cheese and sour cream. With Taco Bell's signature ground beef added into the equation, this is one tempting proposition.
Beyond the basic "California", Taco Bell is offering two slightly more exotic variants. The "Chipotle" substitutes guac for smokey chipotle mayo, while the "Supreme" removes guac and sour cream altogether for a more straightforward snacking experience.
At $1.99 a pop for a healthy helping of meaty, cheesy goodness, the new range of SoCali inspired burritos are sure to have Taco Bell fans everywhere excited. The items will also be available as part of five-dollar box selections also containing a Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco, a crunchy taco, and a medium drink, making them ideal accompaniments in a meal, as well on their own as a snack.
In a French fry-taco market that has traditionally been dominated by Del Taco, Taco Bell's venture is certainly a risk. However, if they manage to pull it off, it could also go a long way to settling the age old argument over which chain truly reigns supreme. If the new offerings are half as delicious as they sound, the debate is over, and Taco Bell can finally stand alone atop the deep fried Mexican fast food mountain. Long live the kings.