Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is finally rolling out chorizo.
The spicy chicken-and-pork sausage will appear on menus Wednesday in restaurants in Columbus, Ohio; Sacramento, Calif.; and San Diego, as well as New York units in Manhattan; one restaurant in Denver; and at the unit in Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport.
All restaurants across the nearly 2,000-unit chain will serve the new protein by this fall.
Chorizo is the first new menu item introduced by Chipotle since it rolled out Sofritas, an organic tofu option, in 2014.
The chorizo is seasoned with paprika, toasted cumin and chipotle peppers, and is seared on the grill in restaurants to achieve a “perfect char,” Chipotle said. The chorizo will be priced the same as Chipotle’s carnitas entrée. Prices vary by location.
The Denver-based chain was testing chorizo last year at restaurants in Kansas City, Mo., and executives said it was very popular with loyal customers.
Then the chain was hit by a series of foodborne illness outbreaks, and plans to roll out chorizo were put on hold.
In a statement Wednesday, Steve Ells, Chipotle founder, chairman and co-CEO said: “Since we opened the first Chipotle 23 years ago, our menu has changed very little, and our focus has been on constantly improving the quality and taste of the food we serve. While we have never been opposed to changing our menu, we only do so when we think there’s an opportunity to add something that is really unique but that fits within our overall menu, and where we can find ingredients that meet our high standards.”
Like the other meats Chipotle serves, the new chorizo is “Responsibly Raised,” a trademarked term the company uses to signify that animals are raised in humane ways, without the use of antibiotics or added hormones.
The new menu item comes the same week that Chipotle will launch a summer loyalty rewards program called Chiptopia that will allow customers to earn free food for repeat visits.