By Mike Pomranz | FoodAndWine.Com
Troy Warren for Hometown Hall #foodie-all
The quesadillas take advantage of “a new custom oven” added to Chipotle’s takeout and delivery kitchens.
For years, Chipotle Mexican Grill’s quesadilla has been America’s best-known “secret menu” item. Chipotle clearly has all the ingredients to make a quesadilla, and if you asked them to make you one, they would; however, the burrito chain resisted adding it to their official menu.
But starting this Thursday, the “Hand-Crafted Quesadilla” will make its official debut. That said, you may still not see it on Chipotle’s menu board in their restaurants: The “new” item is being billed as the chain’s “first customizable digital-only entrée”—meaning you have to order it either through the Chipotle app or on Chipotle.com.
“We’re so excited to answer the call from fans and introduce one of the most highly anticipated menu items in our brand’s history,” said Chris Brandt, Chipotle’s chief marketing officer.
Chipotle trialed a digital-only quesadilla last summer in Cleveland and Indianapolis—and the test was about more than proving what they knew people already wanted. Instead, the brand was also sorting out ways of “removing operational friction by utilizing its Digital Kitchen.” Chipotle began adding these secondary “Digital Kitchens” nationwide last year to focus on takeout and delivery, and the new Hand-Crafted Quesadilla is “pressed using a new custom oven [in these kitchens] which melts the cheese perfectly and enables restaurants to make quesadillas more quickly and conveniently.”
As for the quesadilla itself, this menu item has been hiding in plain sight for so long that you probably know the gist. “Chipotle’s Quesadilla is filled with Monterey Jack Cheese and freshly prepared with Responsibly-Raised Chicken, Steak, Carnitas, Barbacoa, Sofritas, or Fajita Veggies,” the brand writes. “The menu item is cut into triangular pieces and served in 100% compostable packaging that allows guests to pick three salsas or sides, including fresh tomato salsa, sour cream, or hand-mashed guac for a little extra.”
Finally, to reward fans for having “waited patiently,” Chipotle is rolling out its new Hand-Crafted Quesadilla with no delivery fee on its app and website until March 21.