This Is the No. 1 Reason You Need to Eat at Chipotle This Week

Chipotle has long been a fast-casual restaurant favorite. And no matter how much we may think we know about the place, we’re always dying to know more. Just when we thought it couldn’t get much better, Chipotle announced it will be adding a long-awaited, highly-anticipated item to the menu — and people are freaking out.

Chipotle queso has officially arrived, and we’re as excited as everyone else who’s been begging for this much-needed dip for years. So, just what do you need to know about Chipotle’s take on the Tex-Mex classic? You’re about to find out.

1. Queso has been the most requested non-menu item for years

Chipotle queso and chips

The most requested item that’s not on the menu | Chipotle

It’s no surprise that Chipotle finally decided to add queso to its menu, given all the requests they’ve gotten for it. The customers spoke, and the restaurant answered. According to Eater, “Queso, as it turns out, has been the most requested dish that’s not on the Chipotle menu.” But they weren’t about to throw just any ingredients together in order to please their customers. No, Chipotle customers deserve only the best, and that’s just what they’ll get.

2. Chipotle was hesitant to add queso to the menu for a reason

Chipotle queso and chips

It took years to get it right. | Chipotle

A mass-market Tex-Mex dip oozing of highly-processed products and sub-par ingredients? No way, not for Chipotle patrons. In an internal company memo, Chipotle CEO Steve Ells said, “But because we refuse to use industrial additives, added colors, flavors or preservatives in our food, it’s very difficult to make queso that meets our standards.” Thankfully, the company’s managed to figure out another way.

3. The queso first hit the chain’s test kitchen in July

Chipotle queso and chips

They’ve been preparing this moment for a while now. | Chipotle

So, Chipotle has a test kitchen. How about that! And yes, it’s as cool as it sounds. We’ll get to some details on that in a minute, but first, let’s talk timeline. Back in July, Chipotle finally took the leap and introduced their first version of a ready-for-the-public queso. And that was just the beginning.

4. Chipotle NEXT Kitchen

Chipotle Becomes First Non-GMO US Restaurant Chain

The NEXT kitchen is a way to get direct feed back from consumers.  Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The company’s test kitchen, located in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, is a thing of beauty. Or, at least the concept is pretty cool. Just like its name suggests, Chipotle’s test kitchen is a way for the restaurant chain chefs and big wigs to get direct feedback from customers before they officially add the item to the menu. The company is even trying out a few other items besides queso, but only time will tell if they prove to be as successful.

5. Chipotle’s take on an all-natural cheese dip

Chipotle queso

They took the time to tweak it. | Chipotle

After being tested at Chipotle NEXT Kitchen, the queso dip we’ve all been waiting for has finally been perfected. In an effort to meet the restaurant’s quality standards, Chipotle has tweaked the recipe based on customer feedback. And the final product? A delightful blend of nothing but natural ingredients, including aged cheddar cheese, chipotle chili, and tomatillo, to name a few.

6. It’s now available nationwide

A restaurant worker uses a spoon to get Guacamole

You can now add it to your burrito bowl. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As of September 12, 2017, everyone can all hop on the queso train, regardless of where you live. You can order queso with an entree, on the side, or with chips. It’ll cost you an extra $1.25 when you get it with an entree, and up to $5.25 if you order it as a large side with chips. Worth it? You be the judge.

7. Chipotle is also testing out margaritas

Margaritaaaaah.

A post shared by Chipotle (@chipotlemexicangrill) on

Chipotle’s test kitchen is trying its hand at more than just queso. Turns out, there are a few new items that are still in the beta stage. Salad greens with an avocado citrus dressing is on the docket, along with two varieties of frozen margaritas — a classic marg made with blanco tequila and a virgin strawberry margarita.

8. It’s part of a bigger game plan

Chipotle

It will help determine the chain’s future. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

If you’re thinking the buck ends here, think again. Quite to the contrary, Chipotle has a bigger plan up its sleeve. The debut of this long-awaited, much-anticipated cheesy goodness is part of the company’s $50 million marketing plan to shape what the future of the Mexican chain looks like. And we’re looking forward to seeing how it continues to unfold.