Taco Bell/Yum Brands
April 24, 2014 7:32 PM EDT

Taco Bell is testing out a fast casual restaurant called U.S. Taco Co and Urban Tap Room. The clandestine concept—it was even hidden from Taco Bell employees—was developed over the course of the past year in Taco Bell’s Irvine, California headquarters, according to USA Today. The first U.S. Taco is scheduled to open this summer in Huntington Beach, California.

And this won’t be your pot-smoking uncle’s Taco Bell: The tacos at Taco Co. will sell for as much as $7. There will be 10 soft-shell, open-faced tacos initially available on the menu—one of which has lobster, another of which has brisket.

Taco Bell hopes to take on fast casual restaurants like Chipotle and Panera and profit from a key demographic: Millennials who fancy themselves foodies with change to spare. “We realized that at Taco Bell we weren’t reaching all of those who want Mexican food,” says Jeff Jenkins, senior brand manager. “Everyone in the U.S. has become a foodie. The first thing young people do in a restaurant is take out their camera and take a picture of their food — and post it on Instagram.”

Taco Bell/Yum Brands

If they were aiming for an Instagram-able look, the restaurant’s logo certainly makes a statement: it’s a bright pinks Day of the Dead sugar skill. Indeed, the company has gone to great pains to redefine its image with this project. The name Taco Bell won’t even appear in the restaurant. “This is an entirely separate brand,” says Jenkins. “You will not see Taco Bell.”

[USA Today]



Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

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