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Taco Bell Trying For Higher-End Food With New Restaurant

Taco Bell has opened a new restaurant called U.S. Taco Co. in hopes of meeting demand for higher-end Mexican food.
Posted at 5:42 PM, Aug 12, 2014

Fast food giant Taco Bell is setting its sights a little higher on the food chain. Now, it's hoping its new restaurant will meet customers' desire for high-end Mexican food. 

Back in April, Taco Bell's Chief Executive Greg Creed announced U.S. Taco Co. would be opening in Huntington Beach, California, this summer before expanding into other parts of the country. 

U.S. Taco Co. opened its doors Monday, and the restaurant is turning some iconic American dishes on their heads — for example, a lobster roll turned into an almost $10 taco called "The 1%er." 

Business Insider says other American-inspired dishes include the "Winner Winner Chicken Dinner," which has — what else? — Southern fried chicken inside, and the "Not My First Rodeo" taco, which is filled with smoked brisket. 

Taco Bell has attempted higher-end offerings before. Two years ago, it brought out its protein-centered Cantina Bell menu with slightly more expensive options featuring either grilled steak or chicken. 

And now, maybe Taco Bell is just trying to keep up with its competitors by expanding its brand. 

A writer for The Christian Science Monitor pointed out food court pizzeria Sbarro expanded its franchise with two sit-down restaurants called Pizza Cucinova. And in 2013, KFC opened KFC Eleven in Louisville, Kentucky. Its menu offers things like flatbreads and sandwiches, all made with that famous fried chicken.

But Taco Bell's try at higher-end tacos with U.S. Taco Co. is drawing some comparisons to Chipotle.

Which might be what prompted Creed to tell the Orange County Register earlier this year that U.S. Taco Co. "is not a Chipotle walk-along."

In May, Chipotle announced it was expanding its food horizons by opening Pizzeria Locale, a gourmet pizza shop, and ShopHouse, which features Asian-style rice bowls on its menu. 

So how is Taco Bell's newest venture going to stack up against its competitors? It's not quite clear yet, as no word has been given on how well the restaurant has been doing since it opened.

This video contains images from Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0 and Getty Images.