The ground-beef burrito with beans and onions and covered with melted cheese and red sauce was a menu staple from the 1970s until 1993, when it was discontinued to make way for new menu items. "We expanded the menu so we needed to eliminate some of the classics and the enchirito was one of them," Taco Bell spokeswoman Laurie Gannon said.
But last week, the Irvine-based chain reintroduced the old favorite with some new options: Customers can choose a steak or chicken filling.
While most old-time customers assumed that the menu item was gone for good, some die-hards have been ordering enchiritos all along since the restaurants still had the ingredients. Word of the special ordering was spreading on Taco Bell Web sites.
"It's been kind of like this underground thing," Gannon said. "It was so popular among our core users that we decided to bring it back."
Gannon said that while the enchirito is familiar to longtime customers, it is virtually a brand-new offering to about 80% of the company's current customers who, like most fast-food chains, are young adult males.
Commercials promoting the enchirito and featuring the chain's popular Chihuahua began airing Dec. 26 and will run about six weeks.