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Chipotle is testing a new quesadilla and nachos

The fast-casual chain is adding six items to its New York test kitchen, including milkshakes and avocado tostadas.
David Sundberg / Esto

Quesadillas, long something of a secret menu item at Chipotle Mexican Grill, could graduate to the full menu—assuming they pass its upcoming test.

The Denver-based burrito chain said Thursday that a newly designed quesadilla is among six items it is adding to its Next kitchen in New York City, where the chain begins many of its new-product tests.  

The items include an upgraded quesadilla, nachos, avocado tostadas, Mexican chocolate milkshakes and an updated salad.

To make the quesadillas, Chipotle would add a special tortilla press in the middle of its makeline to ensure that the ingredients stay put and the tortilla is extra crunchy, said Quinn Kelsey, a Chipotle spokeswoman.

“We’re not built right now to make a great quesadilla,” CEO Brian Niccol told the New York Times.

Nachos, meanwhile, have been a “long-requested Chipotle item,” the company said. The company would top housemade tortilla chips with queso and a choice of beans, salsas and lettuce.

The company would also get into a snacking item with an avocado tostada. “We recognized through market research that millennials were snacking a lot midday,” the company said, spurring the creation of a corn tortilla fried and topped with guacamole and other toppings.

“Essentially, the Chipotle version of avocado toast,” the company said.

The chain is also testing an updated salad blend and a Mexican chocolate shake based on traditional Mexican cocoa, with cinnamon and spice.

Chipotle is also testing a frozen paloma, a frozen version of a drink typically made with tequila and grapefruit-flavored soda.

The new items are the first to be tested under Niccol, who became CEO in March. The chain is working to generate improved sales after a disappointing 2017. The company has made several changes in its executive ranks, and is moving its headquarters to California from Colorado.

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