Nacho Fries are back at Taco Bell, and Darren Criss is singing their praises

Nacho Fries are back at Taco Bell.

The seasoned french fries with cheese dip return to the menu today, June 6, accompanied by a new ad campaign that features Darren Criss in a trailer for a phony movie musical called “Chasing Gold.”

Criss, best known for the TV series “Glee,” is a singer and songwriter in addition to being an Emmy-winning actor.

In the ad, he plays a parking attendant who becomes a pop star by singing about what he loves. That would be Nacho Fries.

The other actor in the commercial is Chris Diamantopoulos of HBO’s “Silicon Valley.”

Nacho Fries are Taco Bell’s most successful limited time offer ever and have been off and on the menu three prior times since their debut in January. Earlier ad campaigns have featured Josh Duhamel in an “X Files”-type mysteries.

According to a news release, Nacho Fries are available à la carte for $1.29; as Nacho Fries Supreme with ground beef, tomatoes and reduced fat sour cream for $2.49; Nacho Fries Bell Grande, $3.49; and in a $5 box with a 5-Layer Burrito, a Doritos Locos Taco and a medium soft drink.





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Taco Bell gets into beds as well as breakfast with a pop-up Palm Springs hotel

Taco Bell is planning to open a pop-up hotel in Palm Springs this summer.

The Bell: A Taco Bell Hotel and Resort will open Aug. 9, according to a news release from the Irvine-based fast food giant.

Where is it?

What are the room rates?

Will there be a Taco Bellhop?

We don’t know, but Taco Bell promises to tell us more when it starts taking reservations in June.

Wherever The Bell is, it will be serving Taco Bell food and cocktails or guests 18 and older, according to a news release.

And the property will be “infused with a Taco Bell twist” from its guest rooms to its gift shop and salon offering “Taco Bell-inspired nail art, fades and a braid bar.”

And there will be a pool. That’s fortunate for a couple of reasons.

The first is Taco Bell’s summer collection, recently added to its its online merchandise “Taco Shop.” It includes bikinis emblazoned with hot sauce packets, swim trunks and velour beach towels.

More importantly, Palm Springs visitors need a pool in August. Last year the average high temperature for the month was 109.3 degrees according the National Weather Service. There were zero cloudy days.

Taco Bell’s news release says that The Bell will be in Palm Springs, but some people use the city’s name to describe the entire Coachella Valley. The Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau includes nine cities, from Desert Hot Springs in the north to Coachella in the East. Hotel booking websites list more than 250 lodgings in the valley, from motels to high-end golf resorts.

The City of Palm Springs has the most rooms, with an inventory of more than 1,000. The most high profile hotels are along Highway 111 in neighborhoods with names like Midtown, Twin Palms and Araby Commons.

If The Bell is within city limits, it will double Taco Bell’s presence in Palm Springs. There is only one restaurant, northwest of Palm Springs International Airport.

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Taco Bell is bringing back Nacho Fries for a three-peat

Taco Bell is bringing back its Nacho Fries  on Thursday, Jan. 24, for a limited time. But a lucky few customers could get them earlier.

The news comes a year after Nacho Fries made their debut on the Dollar Cravings menu, quickly becoming the Irvine-base fast food chain’s most popular launch ever. It sold more than 53 million orders of the spicy spuds in five weeks.

Taco Bell took Nacho Fries off the menu, but brought it back for a few weeks in July. Next week’s return will be a three-peat.

Nacho Fries will cost $1.29, up 29 cents from a year ago. The Dollar Cravings Menu has since mutated into the Value Cravings menu, opening the door for slightly higher prices.

Taco Bell originally promoted Nacho Fries with movie-like commercials featuring actor Josh Duhamel uncovering a conspiracy by the “burger people” to keep french fries out of the chain.

This time, Taco Bell is sending out a team of “fryologists” on “Fryday,” Jan. 18 to give out free Nacho Fries to “unsuspecting customers” nationwide. But customers probably won’t be that unsuspecting, because Taco Bell has released a list of restaurants they will visit.

Three are in Southern California:

–303 West Imperial Highway, Brea

–2222 Barranca Parkway, Irvine

–4101 Campus Drive, Irvine

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Taco Bell puts its Las Vegas wedding merchandise online

  • Taco Bell weddings include a hot sauce bow tie. (Courtesy of Taco Bell)

    Taco Bell weddings include a hot sauce bow tie. (Courtesy of Taco Bell)

  • Taco Bell is now selling its hot sauce garters online.

    Taco Bell is now selling its hot sauce garters online.

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  • Taco Bell’s champagne flutes are dishwasher safe.

    Taco Bell’s champagne flutes are dishwasher safe.

  • Taco Bell weddings include a hot sauce bouquet.

    Taco Bell weddings include a hot sauce bouquet.

  • More than 60 couples have tied the knot at the Taco Bell Cantina Chapel.

    More than 60 couples have tied the knot at the Taco Bell Cantina Chapel.

  • Taco Bell has renovated its Las Vegas Cantina used for weddings. (Courtesy of Taco Bell)

    Taco Bell has renovated its Las Vegas Cantina used for weddings. (Courtesy of Taco Bell)

  • Taco Bell has renovated its Las Vegas Cantina used for weddings. (Courtesy of Taco Bell)

    Taco Bell has renovated its Las Vegas Cantina used for weddings. (Courtesy of Taco Bell)

  • The Taco Bell Cantina Chapel provides backdrops for wedding photos. (Courtesy of Taco Bell)

    The Taco Bell Cantina Chapel provides backdrops for wedding photos. (Courtesy of Taco Bell)



What Taco Bell started in Vegas isn’t staying in Vegas.

The Irvine-based fast food chain has added a weddings page to the Taco Shop, its online merchandise site, to mark the one-year anniversary of its quickie weddings in a quick service restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip.

People can buy items there that the company says were previously only available in person at the Taco Bell Cantina Chapel, near Planet Hollywood at 3717 South Las Vegas Blvd.

For him: Gray T-shirts that say “Mr.” or “Just Married” and a hot sauce bow tie, all $20.

For her: White tanks that say “Mrs.” or Just Married and a hot sauce garter, also $20.

For the couple: A set of two, 6-ounce champagne flutes with a Las Vegas Cantina Chapel graphic, made of reusable and dishwasher-safe styrene plastic for $10.

Wedding packages are $600 at the chapel and include the above, plus the use of a hot sauce bouquet, a reception for 15 guests, tacos and a Cinnabon Delights wedding cake.

The first ceremony took place June 25, 2017, although Taco Bell didn’t launch the service until August. More than 60 couples have tied the knot since, with 25 more signed up, according to a news release.

The restaurant has renovated the restaurant and expanded its party room to hold more guests.

Taco Bell Cantinas have mostly the same menu as Taco Bell drive-throughs, but serve alcohol and special appetizers. The only Southern California Cantina, in Newport Beach, serves, beer, wine and frosé. The Las Vegas Cantina also serves liquor.



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Taco Bell is bringing back Nacho Fries and the Sly Stallone movie ‘Demolition Man’

Taco Bell is bringing back Nacho Fries on July 12 and taking them to San Diego Comic-Con the following week.

The seasoned fries served with nacho dipping sauce is the most popular launch in Taco Bell’s history.

It was only available on the value menu for a few weeks between late January and early April, but when Taco Bell  pulled it from the menu the Irvine-based company promised to bring it back in the summer.

Along with the fries, Taco Bell is bringing back “Demolition Man,” the 1993 action flick starring Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes and a pre-“Speed” Sandra Bullock. It is set in a post-apocalyptic 2032, when Taco Bell is the only restaurant to survive the “Franchise Wars.”

  • Artists rendering shows a concept for a “Demoltion man” Taco Bell. (Courtesy of Taco Bell)

    Artists rendering shows a concept for a “Demoltion man” Taco Bell. (Courtesy of Taco Bell)

  • Taco Bell has built a “Web of Fries II” ad campaign around the return of Nacho Fries to its menu. (courtesy of Taco Bell)

    Taco Bell has built a “Web of Fries II” ad campaign around the return of Nacho Fries to its menu. (courtesy of Taco Bell)

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  • Nacho Fries were Taco Bell’s most successful launch. (Courtesy of Taco Bell)

    Nacho Fries were Taco Bell’s most successful launch. (Courtesy of Taco Bell)



Taco Bell will run with that notion at Comic-Con, which takes place July 19-22. According to a news release, it will offer “a ‘Demolition Man’ pop-up and a futuristic and upscale Taco Bell dining experience” near Comic-Con’s home in the San Diego Convention Center.

If you’re not familiar with the film, Taco Bell is offering free viewing through FandangoNOW today and Thursday, June 27-28.

Taco Bell is also bringing back its “Web of Fries” ad campaign, which starred Josh Duhamel as a man trying to unravel an “The X-Files”-esque mystery behind the Nacho Fries.

Nacho Fries again will be available for a limited time. Taco Bell hasn’t said how long.

Prices will be $1.29 a la carte, $2.49 for Supreme, or $3.49 for BellGrande, which includes beef, cheese sauce, tomatoes and sour cream.

There will also be a $5 box with the fries, a Doritos Locos Taco, a Beefy 5-Layer Burrito and and a drink.









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Taco Bell joins the frosé craze at Newport Beach location

It’s not everyday you hear people describing frozen drinks at Taco Bell as they would describe a fine wine.

But that could happen at the Taco Bell Cantina in Newport Beach, which is test-marketing an alcoholic beverage called Berry Frosé Twisted Freeze.

“The forward taste you’re going to get is strawberry,” spokesman Alec Treffers said at a tasting for food reporters.

A block from the ocean, the location is one of two Taco Bell Cantinas serving the frosé this summer. The other site is in downtown Chicago.

The cost is $7.99 for a 16-ounce beverage with a two-ounce pour of Charles & Charles rosé wine.

“Our fans and costumers find it a very recognizable brand,” said Treffers.

Without the wine, the drink is called a Beach Berry Freeze.

Invine-based Taco Bell has about 7,000 restaurants worldwide, but only about a dozen are Taco Bell Cantinas. Only three are in Western states, and the Newport Beach location is the only one in Southern California. The other two are in San Francisco and Las Vegas.

This one opened six months ago. Like other cantinas, it is different from most Taco Bell restaurants in that it is smaller, has a unique decor, serves alcoholic beverages and does not have a drive-through.

Newport Beach is the only cantina serving a Taco Bell branded beer, and positive reception helped make the location an attractive choice for testing the frosé, according to Treffers.

It is served out of the same slush machine that mixes Baja Blast Freezes. Available equipment and the popularity of frosé helped speed the beverage through Taco Bell’s test kitchen in a couple of months.

The Newport Beach location always planned to serve “Twisted Freezes” but its liquor license only allows the sale of beer and wine, according to Treffers. Options for freezes at the Las Vegas Cantina include vodka and tequila.

The cantina food menu is mostly the same as other Taco Bells except for the addition of $3-$5 “shareables,” which include Cheesy Jalapeño Poppers, Mini Quesadilla Nachos and Naked Chicken Chips.

Taco Bell has announced plans to expand the number of cantinas to 300, but most of the growth will be on the East Coast, according to the company. So this summer it looks like the only place to try a  Berry Frosé Twisted Freeze is in Newport Beach — unless you’re on Dearborn Street in Chicago.

Taco Bell Cantina

Where: 2121 W. Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach

Hours: 7 a.m.-2 a.m. Sunday through Friday; 7 a.m.-3 a.m. Saturday

Information: 949-673-1630,

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Taco Bell gets wilder with the return of the Naked Chicken Chalupa

Taco Bell’s chalupa with a shell made out of chicken meat will return this week.

The Irvine-based fast food chain will launch a 2.0 version of the Wild Naked Chicken Chalupa on Thursday, May 10.

The Wilder Naked Chicken Chalupa features a shell made out of spicy fried chicken filled with lettuce, diced tomatoes and shredded cheese, plus a new “bold and smoky” Wild Sauce.

The original Naked Chicken Chalupa was in Taco Bell restaurants for a few short but highly publicized weeks in early 2017. It had a creamy avocado ranch sauce, although a “Wild” version with a hotter sauce was almost immediately tried out in some markets.

Taco Bell Caramel Apple FreezeTo wash down the new chalupa, Taco Bell is testing a Caramel Apple Freeze for $1 in Orange County. A news release describes the beverage as a liquid version of its Caramel Apple Empanada.

The Irvine-based chain has made a name for itself in recent years concocting unusual taco and chalupa shells, most recently with French toast for a breakfast item tested in Ohio.

The Wilder Naked Chicken Chalupa is what the fast food world calls a limited-time offer, meaning it will likely be on the menu for only a couple of months. But Taco Bell seems to like playing with the concept of chicken meat shells. The original version and a Bacon Ranch Naked Chicken Chalupa are currently on the menu with Canada.

Taco Bell is coming off its most popular limited-time offing ever, Nacho Fries, which went away at the end of March but is expected to return in summer.

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Pizza Hut begins beer delivery in Los Angeles and Riverside, with Orange County cities on the way

Pizza Hut’s carbs are carpooling.

Beginning today, May 8, the Texas-based chain will be delivering beers such as Coors Light, Miller High Life and Blue Moon with its pizzas in some Southern California cities, including Los Angeles and Riverside.

Pizza Hut is expanding a pilot program that began with one Phoenix store in December to nearly 100 stores in California and Arizona, according to a news release. It says deliveries come in special containers that will ensure the beer will be cold and the pizza will be hot.

Some California locations will also offer Bud Light, Corona and Stella Artois. Local brews won’t be available initially.

The original Arizona store delivers 12-ounce bottles of Budweiser and Bud Light for $3 each and six-packs for $10.99. Shock Top costs $3.50 a bottle and $11.99 for a six-pack. It has expanded to wine with four-packs of Electric Sky delivered for $12.99.

Other California cities with beer delivery starting today include Bakersfield, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara and Sacramento. Anaheim, Huntington Beach and Redding join the list later this month.

Beer orders won’t affect delivery time. They can be made can be made by phone, mobile app or online at Customers need to show identification at delivery to prove that they are at least 21.

Pizza Hut is not the only company exploring the possibilities of beer delivery. Papa John’s began testing six-pack sales in Jeffersonville, Indiana, in late April. B.J.’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, the full-service chain based in Huntington Beach, launched a craft beer delivery pilot program in August. And retailers such as Craft’d in Redlands are experimenting with alcohol delivery.

Pizza Hut, part of Yum! Brands, which includes Irvine-based Taco Bell, is celebrating its 60th anniversary. It opened its first store on May 31, 1958 in Wichita, Kansas, and now has more than 17,000 worldwide. Its anniversary promotion is a Double Cheesy Crust Pan Pizza.

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Taco Bell will invade supermarkets with hot sauce flavored tortilla chips

Taco Bell and Doritos have been good for each other for six years, partnering on popular snack chip flavored taco shells. But they may soon be rivals in supermarkets and convenience stores.

Today, March 22, the Irvine-based fast food chain is announcing its own line of tortilla chips that will hit store shelves in May.

Flavors are Classic, or plain, Mild and Fire, the latter two based on the hot sauce packets Taco Bell hands out at its more than 7,000 locations. Bags are also inspired by the packets as well, which are known for their bright colors and snarky comments.

The company believes customers will recognize the packaging and that it will stand out amid rows of competitors’ snack chips, the company said in an email interview.

The chips are described in singles dating website terms on sample bags sent to the press.

Classic: “I’m crispy and delicious with a touch of salt and a ton of crunch … Enjoy me bare … I can be whatever YOU want me to be.”

Mild: “I’m not the kind to brag, but I’m perfectly seasoned with a little kick and A LOT of flavor. … I’m great for parties or lunch dates or when you’re CRAVING a midnight snack.”

Fire: “If you’re not afraid to be bold, then I’m the one for you. … Dare to dance with me?”

One ounce of the chips contains 140 calories and 8 grams of total fat, 10 percent of the recommended daily value. Sodium content is 5-9 percent of daily recommendations.

Taco Bell restaurants sell tortilla chips as a side item with salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, and nacho cheese sauce.

It does not plan to sell or promote the grocery store chips at its restaurants, but will have in-store displays in markets as well as social media campaigns.

The company is currently experiencing its most successful launch ever with Nacho Fries, which have extended their stay on the chain’s menu. It unseated the Doritos Locos Taco, which debuted in 2012 to instant success.

Taco Bell’s Doritos-branded tacos feature hard corn tortilla shells liberally dusted with seasoning that resembles Doritos chips as well as packaging featuring the Doritos logo. It has four Doritos tacos on the menu.

Doritos is a brand of Frito-Lay, which dominates the snack chip market. Doritos had a 72.7 percent share of the tortilla/tostada chip market in June 2017, according to research firm IRI.

Taco Bell’s news release did not say if it had any partnerships in its supermarket venture.

Mild and Fire chips will be sold in sizes from 1 to 30-ounce bags. Prices were not available.

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McRib returns to 700 McDonald’s restaurants in Southern California

The McRib returns today, Nov. 2, to hundreds of McDonald’s restaurants across the country to celebrate its 35th birthday.

Starting today, 700 Southern California McDonald’s restaurants — stretching from Ventura to San Diego  — are serving the barbecue-slathered pork meat sandwich. Over its 35-year history, the McRib sandwich has randomly appeared in restaurants across the nation.

In Southern California, it often shows up around the holidays when diners are looking for a hot meal on a chilly day. The sandwich is made with 100 percent seasoned boneless pork slathered in McRib sauce and served on a hoagie-style bun layered with dill pickles and slivered white onions.

McDonald’s called the McRib an iconic sandwich inspired by the chain’s first executive chef. It first appeared on the menu at a McDonald’s in Kansas City, Kansas.

McDonald’s Chef Chad Schafer said: “Our customers are passionate and tell us they enjoy the sweetness of the barbeque sauce, which pairs perfectly with the hints of pickles and onions. It’s more than a sandwich, it’s a legend and has become an experience for so many to enjoy at McDonald’s.”

The McRib doesn’t typically show up in Southern California every year. But it did make an appearance in local restaurants in 2016. Find a location by downloading the McRib Locator app. Fans can also order doorstep delivery of the McRib through UberEats.


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