Taco Bell has been on a bit of a roll this summer. Between its new Walking Nachos, Cheetos Burrito, and Triple Double Crunch Wrap, the Tex-Mex chain has been moving America closer and closer to a collective heart attack one fast-food innovation as a time.
Now, as the coup de grâce, Taco Bell will reportedly roll out its infamous Naked Crispy Chicken Shell on a national scale. The item—which is literally a slab of fried chicken folded into taco form, and then filled with lettuce, tomato cheese, avocado and ranch sauce—first made headline last year when the company test it in Bakersfield, California, and then again in April in Kansas.
Apparently, the experiments were a success. According to Brand Eating, the Naked Crispy Chicken Shell will indeed hit locations throughout the country, but fast-food fans will have to wait until next year to get their hands on the item. And though an exact release date in 2017 has yet to be disclosed, the item will cost roughly $2.49.
"It was a little salty initially since you bite into the fried chicken first but balances out once you hit the filling," Brand Eating writes. "The chicken shell had a substantial crunch as well as a solid kick of spicy heat; much more so than any other current Taco Bell meat option."
Still, earlier this year, Taco Bell said it was concerned that the public might view the Naked Crispy Chicken Shell as a health food item. The dish is basically what would happen if you a took a chicken cutlet out of a deep fryer and folded it down the middle like a slice of pizza—we simply cannot stress this part enough—but the item does sneak a few vegetables in there for balance.
“When you explain it to someone they create a visualization in their mind, but it you put it in front of someone and say, ‘Try it,’ then it’s like, ‘Okay, I get it,’” Steve Gomez, Taco Bell’s product development manager, told BuzzFeed. “Every year the benchmark gets higher and higher for new, big taco-innovation ideas.”
Between the Naked Crispy Chicken Shell and Burger King's new Mac 'n Cheetos, the stakes involved in the fast-food wars are becoming more dire to the survival of mankind than the nuclear arms race.