Courtesy of Taco Bell

The new Nacho Fries hit the chain’s value menu January 25.

Adam Campbell-Schmitt
January 24, 2018

While French fries have been a staple of move fast food joints since the McDonald brothers first started assembly-lining the process of making burgers, they’ve been noticeably missing from one popular chain’s menu: Taco Bell. The Tex-Mex brand, most notable for late hours, crave-able tacos, burritos, and wraps, and being a staple of intoxicated diners the world over, is finally diving into the fryer oil, as it were, and offering fries at its U.S. locations for as little as $1 starting Thursday, January 25. (Get ready, Mark Hoppus!)

As the first value menu addition of Taco Bell’s 20 new items being rolled out in 2018, Nacho Fries, Nacho Fries Supreme, and Nacho Fries Bell Grande on the menu (for $1, $2.49, and $3.49 respectively), Bell fans can finally get their fry fix at all Taco Bell locations nationwide through early March. As alluded to in the hilarious movie trailer about the Nacho Fries launch starring Josh Duhamel, the $1 offering is indeed served with Taco Bell’s signature cheese sauce. Not only is that a ketchup-free alternative to other chains, it’s also a shot fired across the bow of McDonald’s which famously removed fries from it’s Dollar Menu.

If you’ve been hearing rumors of a French fry-filled burrito from Taco Bell, your ears are not deceiving you. A Carne Asada Fries Burrito has been tested in the chain’s Bakersfield, CA market. However, it should be noted that while fries are on the menu anyone could theoretically put fries in any burrito (or any other Taco Bell menu item, for that matter). In fact, to encourage such customization, Taco Bell is offering that service for just 49 cents. Part of the reason the fries took so long to get on the menu was a lack of frying power at many locations, a spokesperson told me. But with that upgrade firmly in place for the Nacho Fries debut, I’m also told we can expect those fryers to get more use in a variety of ways in the next year.

As for the fries themselves, I had high hopes going in and those were largely met. Taco Bell’s fries are lightly seasoned with habanero and cayenne, among other flavors, but not overpoweringly so. I expected something, perhaps, along the lines of Popeye’s cajun fries but found these straight-cut potatoes to be more akin to a seasoned curly fry like Arby’s serves. The texture was closer to a Burger King or Wendy’s French fry as opposed to McDonald’s crispier, thinner product. The real test was how these fries stood up to Taco Bell’s sauce options. Dipped in nacho cheese, the fries are a heartier and starchier option to the already existing tortilla chips, and they shine when topped with any of the hot sauce varieties available. The inclusion of two supreme fries (which come in a dish and served with a fork) indicate that these fries are more so a delivery vehicle for Taco Bell’s other flavors. And that’s not a bad thing.

Bell devotees in the New York City area can try the new fries a little early today, January 24, or attend a premiere event tomorrow, January 25, at a Taco Bell pop-up in SoHo. Located at 218 Bowery, the event features cocktails, a screening room where you can watch the “Web of Fries” trailer, and, of course, Nacho Fries for the tasting. Interested diners can book one of the limited spots on OpenTable.

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