For the first time in more than a year, Chipotle is launching a new menu item nationwide: Queso will be available at all the burrito chain’s U.S. stores as of September 12, the company announced yesterday.
Customers will be able to slather their burrito or bowl with queso, or get it on the side with chips; prices will vary slightly by location but expect them to hover around $1.25 to add it to an entree or $5.25 for a large side order. The chain first began testing its queso in select stores over the summer.
Eater NY critic Robert Sietsema was largely unimpressed with Chipotle’s queso when he tasted it in July, saying, “Chipotle’s queso is notably bland, with virtually no heat or discernible chile flavor despite that it’s flecked red and green. The queso is also a bit grainy.”
That perceived graininess is due to the dip’s ingredients, or rather, lack thereof: “Although queso was the number one requested menu item, we never added it to our menu before now because we wouldn’t use the industrial additives used in most quesos,” CEO Steve Ells says in a press release. According to Chipotle’s website its queso contains 23 ingredients, including tapioca starch and rice bran oil. The dip’s base consists of aged cheddar and milk, rather than the kind of stabilizer-heavy faux-cheese product found in many restaurants’ versions of the dip; flavorings include tomatillo, cumin, garlic, oregano, and four types of peppers.
Will Chipotle’s queso fare better than its last new menu item, chorizo? Panned by Eater’s critics, the chain is now experimenting with removing chorizo from the menu at some stores in order to make way for queso.
• Chipotle Cracks Code on All-Natural Queso [Press Release]
• Chipotle’s First Shot at Queso Falls Short on Flavor [E]