Dangerously cheesy? Cheetos pop-up restaurant opens in NYC


NEW YORK (AP) — Gourmet fun or just plain cheesy? 

A three-day pop-up restaurant devoted to Cheetos, yes Cheetos, opened in Manhattan on Tuesday, with every table already booked with diners ready to pay between $8 and $22 for such creations as Cheetos meatballs, Cheetos crusted fried pickles, Cheetos tacos, Mac n' Cheetos and even Cheetos cheesecake.  

"I worked hard to incorporate Cheetos into every dish and not just say, 'Oh here's a dish with a sprinkle of Cheetos on top,'" said spiky-haired celebrity chef Anne Burrell, who was given the task of coming up with the menu for The Spotted Cheetah. "I really tried to think about the flavor of each Cheeto and what would pair really well with it."  

But the question seemingly on everyone's orange-coated lips is: Why?  

Makers of the popular puffed cornmeal snack say the pop-up was the deliciously shrewd result of whimsy and marketing after executives noticed Cheetos fans posting their own recipes incorporating the crunchy treat on social media.  

"So we thought it was a great trend to try to capitalize on and bring to life an idea, a concept like this really that spoke to how you could use Cheetos in such a variety of different ways," said Ryan Matiyow, a marketing manager for Frito-Lay, a unit of PepsiCo. He said the 300 reservations available for the eatery's three nights sold out within six hours.  

Burrell, host of Food Network's "Worst Cooks in America" and other programs, showed off some of her dishes as her staff scrambled to prepare the food and set places in a dining room decorated with swaths of orange fabric and images of brand mascot Chester the Cheetah.  

Crumbled Cheetos are part of the breading on chicken Milanese and fried green tomatoes. A garnished Cheetos beverage accompanies a grilled cheese, tomato and bacon sandwich that gets an extra crunch from Cheetos. Desserts feature the cinnamon sugar Cheetos variety known as Sweetos.  

Melissa Abbott, a vice president of the Hartman Group, a consumer research firm, said the Cheetos restaurant is partly a reaction to the emphasis on health in today's food culture.  

"All of the salad and juice bars and all that ... At some point you have to balance the scales a little bit and have some fun."


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Travel

Trekking through fire and ice on Greenland's 102-mile Arctic Circle Trail

Late on my fourth day hiking the 102-mile Arctic Circle Trail in western Greenland, I encountered smoke rising from the ground. White tendrils, sometimes columns, rose in all directions from charred soil and wisped out from an 800-foot-tall hummocky, granitic hillside to my left. To my right was the 14-mile-long, string-bean-shaped Lake Amitsorsuaq...
A bakery by the beach signals a new dawn for San Diego pastries

SAN DIEGO — Destination bread and pastries have been surprisingly elusive in San Diego, a city with access to superb ingredients and international influences that are not beholden to rigid baking traditions. Now there is a destination, thanks to Crystal White and her new bakery, where a mural depicts the sunrise over a wheat field, signaling...
New Southwest Airlines emotional support animal policy allows only dogs and cats on leashes or in carriers

Joining several other carriers that have adopted tough new rules on pets, Southwest Airlines is adopting a new policy for emotional support animals in the cabin, allowing only dogs and cats that are restrained by a leash or kept in a carrier.  The new policy, announced Tuesday by the Dallas-based carrier, also limits each passenger to one emotional...
6 safety tips for a solo road trip
6 safety tips for a solo road trip

Hitting the road on your own can be an incredibly liberating experience. With no fights over the radio dial, you can sing loudly and shamelessly to your “Britney’s Back” playlist. You call all the shots and all the stops. Yep, even if you want to stop at that Bigfoot-themed roadside coffee stand. And with these safety tips, you can...
Choose Montreal if you’re looking for an arty, historical adventure
Choose Montreal if you’re looking for an arty, historical adventure

MONTREAL — In recent years, I have made it something of a habit to celebrate my birthday in some far-flung corner of the world. I’ve gotten a year older in Munich, Germany; Lausanne, Switzerland; New Zealand and Hong Kong among other places. This May 15 found me in Montreal. As birthdays go, it wasn’t one of my best, weather-wise...
More Stories