The test item’s taco shell is fried in-house.
Taco Bell Midnight Melt
Credit: Courtesy of Taco Bell

“Fresh” is an idea that’s strived for, but not always found, in the world of fast food. Subway long pushed the idea of “Eat fresh” thanks primarily to freshly-baked bread despite pulling pre-sliced cold cuts out of a container. More recently, McDonald’s has made a switch to using fresh beef in Quarter Pounders nationwide. Meanwhile, no matter how much you love Taco Bell, “fresh” probably isn’t a word you’d associate with the chain: though the thought of a freshly fried blue corn taco shell might be enough to get you excited.

Last week, Taco Bell significantly expanded its trial of the Midnight Melt Taco, adding the item to 73 locations in Minneapolis until late December, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. The blue corn-shelled taco was first tested over the summer at 12 locations in Orange County, though sadly, the site says that menu item has been pulled from those restaurants now that it’s moved to Minnesota.

What sets the Midnight Melt Taco apart from other Taco Bell items — besides its photogenic blue corn — is that shell is “freshly fried” in-house before the taco is finished off with melted cheeses, seasoned beef, shredded cheese, sour cream, lettuce, and tomatoes. Though Taco Bell and other chains have come to define a crunchy taco as being made with the kind of corn shell you’d find from Old El Paso in a grocery store, plenty of Mexican eateries prefer to fry crispy taco shells up on the spot — so Taco Bell would appear to be trying to give this taco a bit of a refined touch. Of course, many of the best Mexican joints also press their own fresh tortillas, but baby steps for the Bell.

Customers can expect to pay $1.99 for the Midnight Melt Taco or, if they prefer, grab it as part of a $5 Box, which includes a Beefy 5 Layer Burrito, a crunchy taco, cinnamon twists, and a medium drink — though you may want to save yourself a few bucks with the a la carte option after also factoring in the cost of roundtrip airfare to Minnesota.