First thing's first: Yes, they're calling it "Centro Bell."
From 5 to 10 p.m. tomorrow, Able Seedhouse + Brewery invites you to Fourth Meal, as conceptualized by Centro at Popol Vuh, northeast's premier fast-casual taqueria.
"Everybody loves Taco Bell. It’s just fun," says Jami Olson, Centro's owner. "We got T-shirts made, we got a big menu board, we’re gonna have fun music. We want it to be more like a Taco Bell Cantina. It’s just like a fun, vibrant party with a '90s twist."
"We’ve always kind of joked about it," Olson, said. The final inspiration to follow-through on the lark came, in part, from the likes of Animales Barbecue's recent McDonald's pop-ups.
Olson told City Pages those shirts have T-Bell's old school logo tweaked to say "Centro Bell," and will be slinging Baja Blasts out of Jazz Cups – y'know, those ubiquitous disposable wax cups squiggled with teal and purple. Both the retro drink and a limited run of merch will be available for purchase tomorrow.
Centro Bell’s food menu reflects the era of Taco Bell when the chain’s seating area still barely mattered, just before the chain shifted its offerings to be best enjoyed from a car parking lot. (In your author’s opinion, that shift occurred in the year 2001.)
“There’ll be a Quesarito, we’re gonna do the Crunchwrap Supreme, the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, Doritos Locos, and then a taco and a three-pack taco as well, so you can get hard shell or soft shell,” says Olson. Centro's churros will be disguised as “cinnamon twists” for the day, too.
For those following along via Centro's social media, the announcement of these Taco Bell-themed shenanigans may not come as a total shock; even if they've not been advertising the pop-up outright, Centro has been dropping subtle hints (like the image above, or plastic to-go containers with the date and no explanation) for a while now.
"We’re trying not to get a cease and desist before the event," she said of this low-key marketing strategy.
And if that worst-case scenario happens? They've got a back-up plan: "Take our shirts off and have a Taco John's shirt on underneath.”