I’ve wanted to get this off my chest for a long time: People don’t properly appreciate the Crunchwrap.
Sure, former Bon Appétit personality Molly Baz had a super-popular Instagram video where she made her version, the Crunch Wrap XTREME, and websites from Delish to VICE will tell you how to make your own at-home Crunchwrap.
But when The Ringer ranks the top fast food items in America, the Crunchwrap doesn’t even crack the top 50. Mashed doesn’t think the perfect tortilla-wrapped disc is one of the 43 fast food items you need to eat before you die, but somehow Subway’s cookies are. Thrillist says the single best item on TB’s menu is the soft taco, which, grow up.
At Centro in Northeast, they know a legend when they see one. When the restaurant hosted a “Centro Bell” pop-up at Able Seedhouse + Brewery a few years ago, their take on the Crunchwrap was featured front and center. It was so popular that for a while, they brought it back on Mondays at the restaurant.
But it turns out that if you mess with the bell, you get the horns—horns in this case being a cease and desist letter—and Big Bell eventually did come knocking.
“We knew there might be a little, um, confrontation with Taco Bell,” says Centro’s marketing director Cody Webster. “They sent us a nice letter that was like, ‘Hey, we love that you love us so much, this is great, but like, please stop or we’re going to sue the shit out of you.'”
So what’s happening at Centro right now is not that. It’s an homage to the late-night icon, a reimagining of those crunchy, beefy taco treats once pitched to us by a tiny talking chihuahua. Centro was handed a long list of things they can no longer say or do, which means that for the month of January only, you can chow down on their “signature” Munchwrap, which is not a Crunchwrap, and a quesadilla burrito, which is not a Quesarito, along with their take on a spicy potato taco.
It’s not the kind of stuff Centro’s kitchen is used to making, so a slightly slower month like January is the ideal time to bring back these beloved snack classics.
“People love it,” Webster says. “The whole point is to give people something they love, but the better version.” This takes fast-food favorites and puts a Centro spin on them, classing it up a bit and using ingredients you don’t have to feel quite as weird or uncertain about eating, ethically and gastrointestinally speaking.
While you’re there, consider dropping off some new or gently used winter clothing for their drive with Sapphire Society, a Minneapolis-based BIPOC youth collective, which runs through January 16.
And maybe ask nicely if they’d consider adding the Munchwrap to the menu year-round.