The Exclusive Qdoba Menu You've Never Heard About

According to the Qdoba website, Zuma Fresh Mexican Grill was founded in Denver in 1995. Seventeen years, several brand name changes, and nearly 750 stores later, fans now know it as Qdoba Mexican Eats — the "largest Mexican fast-casual franchisor in the country," per QSR. But even the largest fast-casual franchisor in the country needs to find ways to keep growing, especially in the midst and aftermath of a global pandemic.

Qdoba hopped on board the boom of mobile ordering and delivery apps at the perfect time. CEO Keith Guilbault told Fast Casual in August 2021, "Qdoba anticipated the acceleration of digital ordering before the pandemic, which is why we invested in a new digital platform that launched in January 2020 — just two months before the pandemic hit." Whether the timing was smart, lucky, or both, it put Qdoba in a position to leverage third-party delivery with an innovative concept. Enter: the company's very first digital brand.

Qdoba has long been a fast-casual favorite throughout the United States, with fresh and flavorful menu items including birria burritos, fajita bowls, and cheese-crusted quesadillas. So it's taken one of its most beloved signature items — the 3-Cheese Queso — and made it the hero of a virtual brand that offers an exclusive menu through third-party delivery apps: Pure Gold by Qdoba.

The Pure Gold menu is literally dripping with queso

Pure Gold By Qdoba boasts "that queso drip, tho," and the menu items for this exclusive, indulgent brand live up to its slogan. Per a June 28 press release announcing the launch, the purpose of Pure Gold is to offer Qdoba lovers exciting ways to savor the signature queso, with every item featuring it in a different way. So, what exactly is on the cheese-filled menu? Let's dig in.

First up are the "loaded gold quesadillas," which are stuffed with goodies such as black beans, various salsas, sour cream, pickled jalapeños, and, of course, 3-Cheese Queso. They come in three variations: "Hot-Bling Honey Chicken," "So Rich" (a choose-your-protein option), and "Priceless Pork Verde." Next up is the "24-karat quesadilla," which comes with 3-Cheese Queso and customers' choice of protein. But what makes this item extra blingy is that the outside of the tortilla is golden cheese-crusted. Finally, there are the "gold rush tacos," a pack of three tacos with a double-tortilla shell with 3-Cheese Queso in between.

The menu also includes two dessert choices and two side choices. According to the press release, Pure Gold by Qdoba is currently available exclusively through third-party delivery apps in Denver, Michigan, Indianapolis, and other select markets.

Qdoba's queso has long been a fan favorite

While Qdoba's "Pure Gold" menu only debuted in 2022, the brand has long been known among fans for its queso offerings. In 2017, for instance, the fast-casual chain launched a "Queso of the Month" promotion, which included limited-time flavors such as bacon cheeseburger queso and beer cheese queso. (Those queso flavors are no longer on the menu, but customers can still choose between the chain's signature 3-Cheese Queso and its spicy Queso Diablo.)

In 2021, Qdoba also launched the "Queso Pass," which allowed customers who signed up for the program to get a free order of chips and queso with the purchase of any entrée once a day for a month, per QSR. The promotions may change, but fans' love of the gooey, melty cheese dip will not.

And if you're wondering about that other fast-casual burrito chain, Business Insider claims that Qdoba's queso is better than Chipotle's — even with the latter's reformulated recipe.