The Unexpected Celebrity Restaurant Taco Bell Might Collab With

As the old saying goes, you can't swing a plastic cup full of Baja Blast without splashing someone who's obsessed with Taco Bell. The chain has fans in every corner of the country, not to mention a considerable number outside the United States. Some of those fans happen to be famous. Take Doja Cat, whose allegiance to the brand is immortalized in a 2021 Super Bowl commercial that shows the rap sensation shedding a sad clown outfit while en route to a Taco Bell drive-thru, where she and her friends tuck into some fresh Crunchwrap Supremes as Hole's "Celebrity Skin" plays in the background. "Live Más," indeed. 

Around the same time as its Doja Cat era, Taco Bell launched a campaign with actor Noah Centineo, TikTok influencer Nava Rose, K-Pop star CL, drag queen Onyx Black, and pro BMX biker Brad Simms (just to name a few) to promote its Build Your Own Cravings Box (via PR Newswire), making clear its affinity for celebrity collabs geared toward a young, technology-adept audience. This week, the brand took up that same torch by hinting at a future collab with an unexpected star.

B.J. Novak, everyone

You probably know B.J. Novak for his role as Ryan Howard in NBC's "The Office," but he's more than just an actor. His California-based culinary project Chain, which launched in Orange County in January, is "a pop-up concept that has dared to imagine what chain restaurant food might be like if it was really good," per the Los Angeles Times. The bent is decidedly comfort-food-centric, counting loaded potato skins, jalapeño poppers, California avocado rolls, and pizookies inspired by BJ's Restaurant (no relation) among its past "drops." 

Fittingly, the pop-up has also fashioned its own version of Taco Bell's Crunchwrap Supreme recipe, proving that Chain chef Tim Hollingsworth shares the belief that the popular menu item is the platonic ideal of crispy-on-the-outside, gooey-on-the-inside goodness. When Taco Bell chef Rene Pisciotti came across Chain's version of the dish, he fell in love with it all over again. "I was genuinely concerned that he wasn't going to be able to get the texture right because our tostada shells are so crunchy, and he figured out a way to do it," Pisciotti told Food & Wine. "It's a pretty magical thing that they've done."

On the heels of its 60th birthday, Taco Bell is hinting at collaborating with Novak's Chain on a series of "collaborative events" on social media, promoting the pop-up's "Cruncho Perfecto" — made with Snake River Farms wagyu and homemade sauce, per Food & Wine — in the process. Don't worry, though; the original isn't going anywhere.