Expect dangerously cheesy bites like “flaming hot” chicken tacos and grilled cheese.
Here’s a dangerously cheesy new restaurant concept.
Cheetos is opening up its first-ever full service restaurant, The Spotted Cheetah, on Aug. 15 for three nights only in Tribeca (211 W. Broadway).
Fans of the crunchy orange dusted snack can expect a three course menu loaded with Cheetos crafted by Food Network star Anne Burrell. The spiky haired chef will be on-site serving up spicy dishes like $22 chicken tacos made with jalapenos and actual diced up Flamin’ Hot Limon Cheetos. Also expect to find traces of Cheetos in the grilled cheese and tomato soup combo ($13); and sweet and salty cookies called Sweetos for dessert ($8).
Dishes are priced from $8 to $22, and reservations will be available starting on Aug. 8 on OpenTable.
The last time the spicy snack entered the food space was not on purpose — a bar in Irvine, California chose to combine Flamin’ Hot Cheetos with a Bloody Mary loaded with Tabasco that spread like wildfire over social media. Another ambitious eater decided to make Cheetos milk, and there’s been a bagel mashup and even a Cheetos sushi burrito.
The snack brand caught sight of the viral food mashups on social media, and decided to capitalize on the accidental trend.
“Our fans have inspired us with their creativity and playfulness. We’ve seen their love for Cheetos exhibited through innovative dishes, desserts and beverages, which motivated us to create a restaurant that would bring a full Cheetos culinary experience to life,” Ryan Matiyow, senior director of marketing at Frito-Lay told Moneyish in a statement.
The snack giant follows a slew of other big brands that opened actual restaurants to make their products appear more hip to consumers. Kelloggs opened up a cereal restaurant in Times Square last year charging a whopping $7.50 for bowls of Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies paired with fancy ingredients like green tea powder, pistachios and thyme. (An entire box of each costs under $5.)
Millennials are snacking healthier than ever these days, favoring green juices and grain bowls over a bag of chips from the office vending machine any day. But at the same time, they want to boast about their extravagant dining experiences on Instagram, so marketing experts insist it’s important for less healthy brands to find a way to cater to an experience rather than pushing just the plain old product.
“Given the inherently negative portrayal that snack foods have in the public conscience, a lifestyle concept event will help shift that narrative by engaging consumers in a unique and different experience that they’re not used to seeing from the brand,” says Matt Kirschner, director of celebrity relations for New York-based marketing agency Talent Resources.
“This popup takes Cheetos out of the aisle and into the everyday lives of their consumers, specifically the younger generation,” he adds.
One successful attempt is PepsiCo’s stylish venture Kola House in the Meatpacking District. The model-filled dining den serves up trendy foods like tuna crudo and rock shrimp tempura, and cocktails contain only a hint of the soda giant’s influence with ingredients like the kola nut. The dimly lit space, designed by musician Lenny Kravitz, has hardly any branding and doubles as a music venue.
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