The fries topped with real cheddar cheese sauce and smoked bacon bits debuted regionally last November.
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Somewhere at the intersection of too good to be true and too true to be good lies this recent bit of McDonald’s news: The burger giant is reportedly slated to launch Cheesy Bacon Fries nationwide by the end of January.

Rumors have been swirling about MickeyD’s Cheesy Bacon Fries since they first landed in locations in Northern California and Hawaii in November. Though originally reported as being a “test” item, a McDonald’s rep reached out to me to clarify that, no, these fries topped with real cheddar cheese sauce and smoked bacon bits were actually a “regional limited time offer menu item” set to last until the end of 2018.

But word choice aside, a new report from Business Insider states that this previously “regional” item is set to get a national rollout by the end of the month. Though the site said that McDonald’s declined to verify this assertion, Business Insider claims that it has seen “internal documents” saying the menu item is set to arrive “by January 30.” Furthermore, the report explains, “The launch is intended to encourage customers to consider purchasing loaded fries as a snack — instead of just as a side — and to boost the number of customers visiting the chain.”

Despite the more recent silence, previously, McDonald’s did insinuate that Cheesy Bacon Fries were on their way to a larger audience, with a rep stating last month, “I'm afraid I'll have to provide a cheesy no comment…. At this moment, our kitchens are bacon-ing something together. But we're not yet ready to share the gouda news.” So none of this comes as a complete surprise.

Though cheese and bacon are always a reliable way to get people’s taste buds excited — if not necessarily their arteries — this rollout is garnering extra attention after the unbridled success that Taco Bell saw last year with the introduction of its Nacho Fries. However, McDonald’s has tested similar products before without taking them national. For instance, in 2017, the chain offered a Loaded Bacon & Cheese Basket of Fries in select markets — an item which never returned. That would seem to open up the possibility that the launch of Cheesy Bacon Fries is more of a marketing coup than a chance to fulfill actual demand. Sounds like we’ll find out pretty soon.