I tried CosMc's for the first time. I don't think this new McDonald's spin-off will last very long.

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I tried several menu items from CosMc's to see how the food stacked up.Emily KrivogradI tried CosMc's, the McDonald's spin-off, to see how tasty the food and drinks were.I wasn't overly impressed by most of the menu I tried, and I'm not sure this chain is built to last.The mixed-bag McPops were the only item I'd order again. This year, McDonald's entered the spin-off game with the new chain CosMc's — and its first stop is, of all places, an Illinois suburb near my house.The test run began in December when the fast-food giant opened its first CosMc's location in Bolingbrook, Illinois. The galactic chain sells a variety of "otherworldly" coffees, teas, lemonades, slushes, sandwiches, and snacks.On its opening day, I saw dozens of Instagram stories from friends and neighbors who waited in massive lines of cars just to order from the new spot.It's been months, and social-media buzz about the chain has died down, especially in my local circles. Since CosMc's grand opening, the chain has only opened three more locations in North Texas.Still, I was curious if the chain was any good. Was a better alternative to Starbucks right under my nose? Had I been missing out for months by not taking advantage of its blue-and-yellow drive-thru lanes?Finally, I visited CosMc's and ordered several items to find out.I was excited to visit CosMc’s for the first time.CosMc's had a drive-thru-only setup.Emily KrivogradFrom the design alone, I wouldn't have assumed CosMc's was a McDonald's spin-off.In fact, the Bolingbrook CosMc's is located next to a McDonald's — an interesting choice, especially since the latter looked far busier and the menus have some overlap.The chain takes its name from CosMc, an alien creature who appeared in McDonald's ads during the '80s and '90s. So, I expected the building to have a more obvious space theme and possibly an image of CosMc somewhere on the building, but it looked basic.The blue-and-yellow color scheme also reminded me more of Ikea than space. To my surprise, CosMc’s was almost completely empty.No cars were in the drive-thru lanes when I arrived at the restaurant.Emily KrivogradSince it seemed like CosMc's was getting a lot of customers a few months ago and the Bolingbrook location is drive-thru only, I decided to stop by on a Monday at 3:30 p.m.I expected to see at least a few people grabbing a late lunch, but I saw only three or four other cars during my entire visit.The location's four drive-thru lanes felt pretty excessive.I ordered my food at the drive-thru, where I finally got some space vibes.The screen showing the menu changed after I ordered.Emily KrivogradBecause of its beverage-heavy menu and drive-thru setup, CosMc's seemed like a cross between Starbucks and Sonic.I noticed the space theme finally came through on the ordering screen. The menu had a dark-blue background sprinkled with stars.The menu seemed pretty standard for a fast-food chain, with eye-catching images of the offerings (mostly beverages) and prices on par with other franchises I've dined at. Many items were about $5 to $6.After I ordered, CosMc and illustrations that resembled UFO spotlights popped up. A few minutes later, a new graphic appeared, signaling it was time for me to pull forward and grab my food and drinks.I ordered a wide variety of items, but mostly beverages.I ordered two food items and four drinks.Emily KrivogradFor a total of $34.50, I got the creamy avocado-tomatillo sandwich, a mixed bag of McPops, Island Pick-Me-Up Punch, s'mores cold brew, churro cold-brew frappé, and Sour Cherry Energy Burst. Each drink was a medium.I went to CosMc's on a hot day, and a few minutes after I got my drinks, they started melting. Many had a frozen, slushie consistency, so I drank them immediately after leaving the drive-thru.The Island Pick-Me-Up Punch was all right.The Island Pick-Me-Up Punch reminded me of a Refresher from Starbucks.Emily KrivogradIsland Pick-Me-Up Punch is one of CosMc's Signature Galactic Boosts, which comes with a shot of caffeine. The punch contains berry lemonade, pieces of dried strawberries, and an energy shot.Out of the four drinks, I thought this one had the most natural-tasting fruit flavor. As I sipped, I tasted pineapple tartness and strawberry sweetness. The drink's freeze-dried strawberry pieces floating reminded me of a Starbucks Refresher. It was a bit sweet, but I thought this drink was pretty good and decently priced at $5.50 — for reference, a grande Starbucks Refresher is $5.25.I thought it was nice that the Galactic Boosts could give people who don't like coffee a caffeine boost.The s’mores cold brew disappointed me.I thought the s'mores cold brew had an oddly bitter aftertaste.Emily KrivogradCosMc's describes this drink as having the sweet taste of s'mores and a cold foam with toffee-sprinkle topping.As a fan of the campfire classic, I was excited to try the s'mores cold brew. However, I wasn't getting much of a s'mores flavor when I took a sip.I could tell the creators of this drink were trying to make it taste like toasted marshmallows, but to me, it was ambiguously sweet, with an unpleasant bitter aftertaste.As I drank, this aftertaste turned into an almost burnt flavor. This drink cost $5.30, which didn't seem worth it.The churro cold-brew frappé was a little too sweet for me.The churro cold-brew frappé was very sweet, and I wasn't sure if it tasted like a churro.Emily KrivogradThis drink consisted of blended, flavored cold brew topped with whipped cream and a light sprinkle of cinnamon.The churro frappé, which cost $6, had the consistency and sweetness of semi-melted ice cream. Though I wasn't expecting a fast-food beverage to have a subtle sweetness, I was at least hoping for cinnamony depth.It wasn't bad, but if I ordered it again, I'd get a small because it was so sweet. I still thought it was a little expensive for what it was.The Sour Cherry Energy Burst surprised me a little bit.The Sour Cherry Energy Burst had a very strong flavor.Emily KrivogradLike the pick-me-up punch, the Sour Cherry Energy Burst was also one of CosMc's Signature Galactic Boosts. This drink features a tart-cherry slush with fruity popping boba at the bottom and an energy shot.The drink looked beautiful with its bright-red coloring and yellow-orange pearls. From its appearance alone, I could see why it cost $6.I hadn't tried popping boba before, but sure enough, each pearl expelled a sweet, fruity juice when I bit down on it.The Sour Cherry Energy Burst had a good balance of sour and sweet cherry flavors, though it was intense. Because of its strong flavor and price tag, I'd probably prefer a small size of this drink as well.The creamy avocado-tomatillo sandwich wasn’t my favorite. I wanted more flavor from the creamy avocado-tomatillo sandwich.Emily KrivogradAt first glance, the creamy avocado-tomatillo sandwich — an egg patty, applewood bacon, white cheddar cheese, and avocado-tomatillo sauce on a brioche bun — looked delicious.It cost $5.20, which seemed comparable to the price of breakfast sandwiches at chains like Dunkin' or Wendy's. Unfortunately, it didn't have much flavor.I thought the sauce tasted like a vinaigrette with almost no detectable avocado flavor. The spongy egg patty and cheddar cheese were a bit bland to me, but the applewood bacon gave the sandwich a nice flavor.The sandwich had too many strong flavors: bacon, avocado, and tomatillo. I also wish the avocado had been visible or more present.This is probably one of my least favorite breakfast sandwiches I've had, especially compared to others I've ordered from McDonald's.The mixed-bag McPops were my favorite part of the meal.I liked the mixed-bag McPops.Emily KrivogradFinally, I tried the mixed-bag McPops, which came with one of each flavor: hazelnut, apple cinnamon, and cookie butter.The small, doughnut-like pastry pieces seemed like Munchkins from Dunkin', but less bready.The apple-cinnamon McPop had a tasty cinnamon coating and a tart fruit filling that reminded me of a green-apple Jolly Rancher. The cookie-butter version tasted just like a sugar cookie, which I enjoyed. My favorite flavor was the hazelnut McPop, which had a chocolate-hazelnut filling that tasted like Nutella.I didn't expect these to be huge, but for $3.80 a bag, I wished each puff was bigger.Overall, I wouldn't go back to CosMc’s.I didn't enjoy most of my meal from CosMc's.Emily KrivogradAt the end of the day, I wouldn't go out of my way to visit CosMc's.Many of the flavors and ingredient combinations in the items I ordered seemed a bit too complex for a fast-food chain, so it wasn't surprising that CosMc's couldn't execute them very well.Though its specialty is its drinks, most of them were too sweet for me. None of the menu items seemed like a particularly great value, either, considering I can get something I already know I enjoy from a similar chain for about the same price.CosMc's is set to open 10 locations by the end of 2024, but so far, the chain hasn't even reached half that number. Maybe the slow rollout is because the experimental chain is working out some kinks.Even so, CosMc's still has a long way to go before it builds a loyal fan base like McDonald's or Starbucks have.Given the lack of crowds and the vast number of drinks on the menu, this chain might be a good quick stop for people who need a quick, caffeinated beverage. But I'll probably just stick to waiting in line at Starbucks — and maybe return to CosMc's for some McPops.Read the original article on Business Insider

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