Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Consider the Quesadilla Tacos get all the glory, but quesadillas offer a fantastic platform for innovation, too

This Kalbi Kimchi Quesadilla, with Korean-style short ribs, kimchi and Monterey Jack, demonstrates just how malleable this familiar favorite is.
PHOTO CREDIT: Mission Foodservice

Cheese really does make everything better, right? So, although tacos hold a well-earned position among trending super stars, it might be time to look to their cousin, the quesadilla. Savory, rich, satisfying—and just as versatile as the taco.

At Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar’s many locations in Louisiana and Texas, but it’s the mash-up of Cajun and Mexican that has diners cheering for the home team.

The Cajundillas—Cajun-inspired quesadillas—star chipotle tortillas filled with seasoned chicken, spicy boudin sausage, andouille sausage, chipotle ranch and Monterey Jack cheese. “Our customers love them!” says Mike Turner, VP of Culinary and Purchasing.

“The Cajundillas have consistently been a top-10 seller year after year.” Cajun flavors bend the quesadilla toward Louisiana. “A sweet hint from the onions balances the spice from the boudin, chicken and sausage,” says Turner. A side of red beans and rice completes the signature dish.

Menu Sightings

  • Quesadilla with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, chicharrón, poblano pepper cheese sauce, 4-alarm cheddar, tomatillo chile sauce, pico de gallo
    —El Gringo, Chicago
  • Kimchi Quesadilla: Melted Jack and cheddar cheese, caramelized, buttered kimchi, topped with salsa roja and sesame seed crush
    —Kogi Taqueria, Los Angeles
  • Short Rib Quesadilla: Slow-braised short rib, caramelized onions and melted cheese all stuffed into a grilled quesadilla and garnished with chipotle ranch dressing
    —Old Blind Dog, Atlanta

Three Tips to Upgrade the Quesadilla

  1. Consider amping up the flavor with a finishing drizzle of chimichurri mayo, guajillo salsa or harissa oil
  2. Blend in unexpected cheeses, like goat cheese or Brie, for a premium upgrade
  3. Add in flavor-packed, trending proteins, like Korean barbecue, Cuban shredded pork, Southern-style city ham, pickled Gulf shrimp

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