Hey, remember when we told you about the Naked Crispy Chicken Taco IRL sightings last fall? Turns out, Taco Bell’s artery-busting answer to the Double Down is one step closer to getting the nationwide go-ahead. And our unrealized dreams of fried chicken tacos are one step closer to being answered.
As Buzzfeed reports, the product, now re-named the “Naked Chicken Chalupa” to echo the success of the Quesalupa, is doing well in the test markets of Bakersfield, Calif. and Kansas City. And though it hasn’t been approved for a national launch, things are looking good. “We’re just planning what’s the right timing,” Taco Bell’s senior manager of marketing Kat Garcia said.
So what does it taste like? As Buzzfeed reporter Vanessa Wong writes, it “basically just tastes like a fried chicken wrap without the wrap,” and is filled with lettuce, tomato, cheese and avocado ranch sauce. (Apparently it’s also pretty spicy, as Instagram user debieruth81 reports.)
The big surprise — there’s no meat-on-meat action to be had with the Naked Chicken Chalupa. Apparently that actually adds to the good feedback customers are giving it. “We were getting feedback like, ‘It’s so healthy. It’s so fresh,’” Garcia said. “That really surprised us because it’s fried chicken.” Apparently customers are willing to block out the fact that those healthy, fresh ingredients come wrapped in a deep-fried shell o’ meat. That said, Chief Marketing Officer Marisa Thalberg says Taco Bell isn’t about to market it as a health food.
Could future iterations of the Naked Chicken Chalupa make their way into our paper to-go bags? It’s quite possible. “Every year the benchmark gets higher and higher for new, big taco-innovation ideas,” Taco Bell’s manager of product development Steve Gomez said.
But then, products like the Doritos Locos tacos lend themselves to experimentation. With something like the Naked Chicken Chalupa, Garcia said, “it really feels like you’re at the end of the innovation line. What do you do next? We will think of something, of course.”
We have no doubt that they’ll think of something. And when they release that something, we’ll be the first in the drive-thru line to try it out.