NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. announced this week that it will extend its new meat menu item, carne asada, through the end of the year and into the first quarter of 2020.

The quick-service restaurant said the new protein exceed its expectations and drove new customer acquisitions. Carne asada was introduced nationwide in September

"We're incredibly encouraged by the customer response to Carne Asada and are exploring options to add this as a permanent menu item in the future," said Brian Niccol, CEO of Chipotle. "Our mission is to cultivate a better world and we're committed to doing so responsibly with our people, farms, animals and the environment in mind."

According to Chipotle, carne asada is cooked in small batches, cut into slices, seasoned with lime and finished with chopped cilantro and a blend of spices that includes cumin and coriander. The premium protein is compliant with a paleo diet and has been officially approved for the Whole30 program.

This is the first protein added to the Chipotle’s menu since the return of chorizo in September 2018. Carne asada was originally tested for a limited time in Cincinnati and Fresno, California, back in May.