The crispy chicken "taco" with a "puffy bread" shell will get a test run next month before a national launch later this year.

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Taco Bell is entering the chicken sandwich wars—and though their attempt to compete with the likes of Popeyes and Chick-fil-A honors the chain's taco roots, the forthcoming menu item skews surprisingly closer to a sandwich than fans may expect.

Announced this morning, Taco Bell's Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco will get a test launch in Nashville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina, starting on March 11 (priced at $2.49) before receiving a promised nationwide rollout later this year. And yes, the new product will maintain "an iconic taco form;" however, instead of a standard shell, this "sandwich taco" will be served in "a puffy bread." Maybe you could think of it as a next level Gordita? (R.I.P.) Taco Bell simply says the menu item is both "a sandwich AND a taco."

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos
Credit: Taco Bell

As for the chicken, Taco Bell bills the filling as "premium all-white-meat crispy chicken, marinated in jalapeno buttermilk, then seasoned with bold Mexican spices and rolled in a crunchy tortilla chip coating." And taking a further cue from Popeyes, the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco will be sold in both regular and spicy versions, the latter of which will include "crunchy jalapeno slices for those who can take the heat."

Taco Bell reminds us that the brand "is no stranger to crispy chicken after having introduced fan-favorites such as Crispy Chicken Chickstar (2015), the Naked Chicken Chips (2017) and Naked Chicken Chalupa (2017)." (Not to mention that they were testing Crispy Chicken Wings this past August.) Looking forward, the chain also adds that "Taco Bell fans everywhere will be excited to know this isn't our only crispy chicken innovation arriving in 2021"—though what else is up their sleeve is left unstated.

Of course, Taco Bell is far from the only fast food chain looking for a piece of the booming chicken sandwich market. Popeyes started the current madness when their new chicken sandwich launched—and immediately sold out—in the summer of 2019. And since, everyone from McDonald's to KFC has been retooling their chicken sandwich options to compete. Both Burger King and Wendy's even announced new chicken sandwiches last week.