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fried chicken - popeye's??

s
sake May 17, 2006 11:26 AM

Can anyone tell me where to get good fried chicken downtown? Is there a Popeye's on Yonge st. near the Eaton Centre? Think I saw one there, but not sure...

  1. c
    Craig May 17, 2006 11:35 AM

    There is indeed... on the east side of Yonge right across from the Eaton Centre.

    Mmmm fried chicken.

    1. h
      Harland May 17, 2006 11:37 AM

      Yes there is a Popeyes on yonge across from Eatons center and also one just south of Bloor on Yonge. But you asked for GOOD fried chicken so why would you want to go there?

      17 Replies
      1. re: Harland
        c
        Craig May 17, 2006 12:56 PM

        Are there really other options in Toronto? From my experience, it's the best of a bad (chain) bunch.

        1. re: Craig
          m
          moo May 17, 2006 03:50 PM

          i've found that the quality differs depending on Popeye's locations. Particularly good are the ones at Lawrence/Brimley and the one over by Overlea (juicy seasoned chicken meat, grease decently drained, not overfried).

          the yonge/dundas, yonge/steeles, mccowan/hwy7, college/spadina locations are subpar (greasy, chicken lacking flavour, batter lacking spice).

          as a side note -- i've been having it in the US, and it's just awful here. I think the type of chicken (halal at certain franchise locations in toronto) is the difference, as well as cooking/draining time depending on the franchise owner's discretion.

          1. re: moo
            l
            Leslieville May 17, 2006 05:14 PM

            I've only eaten at the Halal locations of Popeye's and never had any problems. At the risk of being burnt at the stake,I actually enjoyed it!! Perhaps it was the biscuits that swayed me!

            1. re: Leslieville
              a
              artificialard May 18, 2006 12:12 AM

              Had Popeye's more than 3 years ago and only remember the biscuits. They are scarily yummy for a grungy fast food place.

            2. re: moo
              j
              julesrules May 18, 2006 09:39 AM

              the overlea location is halal. it is good there.

              Cajun Corner has great fried chicken, mahagony brown & fried to order - when they have it, and one is willing to go to queen east, for weekday lunch, and not be able to sit down. These folks need to open a restaurant...

              1. re: moo
                b
                bobbieMac Jun 26, 2006 09:35 PM

                Totally agree. I had Popeye's coming back from Washington and it was much tastier than in T.O. From the chicken to the biscuits, all the items were tastier in the US restaurant. Not sure if it was more a result of high volumes or production. Either way Popeye's is still one of the better fried chicken places.

                Bobbie

              2. re: Craig
                h
                Harland May 17, 2006 05:26 PM

                Someone was telling me about a place up by Bathurst & Lawrence ... it has a girls name... used to be big around the city years ago... they rave about the chicken.. Also there is a spot on Queen East in Leslieville small single operation of which I also forget the name... must be all the grease clogging my memories...

                1. re: Harland
                  c
                  Chaagy May 17, 2006 07:32 PM

                  I think the one you're thinking of is Mary Browns which is on Dufferin near Lawrence. Pretty good chicken, better than Popeyes anyway.

                  I might also recommend you try Ajuker Fried Chicken or AFC. It's a Korean fried chicken place - there's one in Korea Town area Bloor and Christie, and there's one also up in the Red Lobster Plaza off Glen Cameron, north of Yonge and Steeles. Decor is nothing to look at, but it's tasty. Get the Fried Chicken with the special sauce.

                  Chaagy

                  1. re: Chaagy
                    p
                    Paolo May 18, 2006 05:07 PM

                    I had Mary Brown's last year in St John's. It was pretty good. I tried searching for them when I got back and I thought the closest one was in Whitby or something. Good to know there is one in the city.

                    1. re: Paolo
                      j
                      jennjen May 20, 2006 03:53 PM

                      OH MY GOSH, MARY BROWNS IS SOOOOOOO GOOD. Everytime I go into Pickering or Oshawa, I have at least 2 helpings of Mary Browns (lunch and dinner). Taters are soooo good (always ask for extra seasoning), and chicken is nice and tender and crispy (though it depends on who makes the chicken too). Its much better than Popeyes. I find Popeyes may not be as flavourful as Mary Browns.

                      1. re: jennjen
                        p
                        Paolo May 23, 2006 11:15 AM

                        Not even two days after posting about Mary Brown's, there I was in Aurora, driving up Yonge St and to my left was a Mary Brown's. Wasn't that hungry, but stopped in for a two piece dinner with taters. Crispy and juicy chicken. Taters are very good.

                      2. re: Paolo
                        sweetie Nov 29, 2006 02:16 PM

                        Good to know that I am not the only Mary Brown fan out there.
                        My family loves Popyes because it is convenient and spicy. But I love my taters! Fortunately I live within a 5 km radius of a Mary Browns. It almost makes up for my daily commuting nightmare.

                      3. re: Chaagy
                        mainja Dec 9, 2006 12:07 AM

                        a mary brown's in toronto?!?!?! good god, that's exciting. i used to live in guelph where there were at least two mary brown's, imagine my dismay when I came to Toronto and there were none to be found. thanks for the tip!

                      4. re: Harland
                        b
                        Bobbie May 18, 2006 12:56 PM

                        The Queen East fried chicken place is right at Woodfield and Queen and I also forget the name...brain cramp. I do remember going there quite often as a kid getting the fries with CHICKEN gravy (yellow)...mmmm....

                        1. re: Bobbie
                          m
                          mikeb May 18, 2006 02:51 PM

                          That's Chick-N-Joy at 1483 Queen St. Not a big fan of the chicken, but I really didn't like their fries last time I was there. Very soggy.

                          1. re: mikeb
                            f
                            Fredster Jun 21, 2006 02:11 AM

                            I often work in the area and let me tell you, Chick-N-Joy is the best fried chicken I have ever had. I used to avoid the stuff but now have it once in a while. The chicken is not greasy at all (pressure cooker instead of deep fryer) and the fries are the best most of the time. Also, they make very nice hamburgers. A small operation like that would not have lasted over thirty years with a bad or subpar product....

                            1. re: Fredster
                              m
                              mikeb Jun 22, 2006 09:37 AM

                              It's a sad thing that Chick-N-Joy would be the best fried chicken someone has tasted. Longevity does not mean great food. There are tons of long lived small restaurants in this city that serve mediocre food.

                              I have yet to taste restaurant fried chicken here that comes close to that I have had in other places or that I make at home. That said, for fast food fried chicken in Toronto, I prefer Popeyes even if they do pile on the msg. The chicken is always crispy and juicy. Just make sure it's a fresh batch.

                  2. j
                    jayseeca May 17, 2006 04:58 PM

                    I also agree, Popeye's is not that great. I didn't find it to be as bad as others thought, but mainly thought it was quite dry, and just not enjoyable.
                    By Yonge-Bloor in Roy Square, there's a Jamaican restaurant which has decent fried chicken. Its usually sold out after the weekday lunch rush.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jayseeca
                      n
                      newfiegirl Nov 28, 2006 07:09 PM

                      The place in Roy Square is the Ritz and had good fried chicken and even better jerk chicken. I go there at lunch for the $3.99 lunch special (jerk chicken, coleslaw, and rice). It's the best in town!!!

                    2. c
                      ctl98 Nov 29, 2006 02:09 AM

                      Don't go to the Popeye's on Yonge and Bloor. I made the mistake of buying chicken there once and I couldn't even eat it because it was literally dripping with oil. Plus, the french fries are soggy and the service was pretty bad. The Overlea location was consistently good the 5 or 6 times I've been there.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ctl98
                        Teep Dec 8, 2006 08:57 PM

                        I had Chicken Strips at the Yonge/Bloor Popeyes last night, and was impressed by the use of real chicken breast meat, as well as almost greasless batter - I laid them on the paper serviettes and only a little oil was evident. However, I tasted cheap frying oil, which was very noticeable on first bite (though not anymore at the end). When I had Mary Brown's FC in Brampton last month, although rather greasy, the oil did not have an off taste. So I won't try this location again, and doubt other locations would be different.

                      2. e
                        embee Nov 29, 2006 02:13 PM

                        Ah Popeye's. I confess I really like their spicy chicken, biscuits, and red beans & rice. At least some of the Halal places, many of which seem to have a common ownership, are much better than the other Popeye's.

                        I've enjoyed the Popeye's at Overlea, Yonge south of Steeles, and Lawrence/Midland. I've found the one on Danforth near Main inferior and the one at Yonge/Dundas both inferior and inhospitable.

                        But dark clouds may be looming. The made to order onion rings (available only at some locations) were wonderful, but the last batch I had, though freshly cooked and crisp, tasted like something from the supermarket freezer. The biscuits are much smaller than they used to be. And most of their new menu items taste blah to me.

                        There may also be a holding temperature issue. A couple of years ago, I was surprised to see a yellow inspection card at a Popeye's location that always seemed sparkling clean. They told me (whether truthfully or not I haven't verified) that the inspector demanded that they increase the temp at which they held the chicken and that, at the required temperature, the chicken dried out very quickly.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: embee
                          e
                          EB_TO Dec 8, 2006 09:43 PM

                          I've only had Popeye's at Yonge & Steeles and at York University. They're both not bad but I still think I prefer KFC. I love the biscuits though.

                          1. re: EB_TO
                            j
                            jayseeca Dec 9, 2006 01:08 AM

                            I had Popeye's once, can't remember which location, but was really disappointed. Dry, not much flavour.

                            1. re: jayseeca
                              e
                              EB_TO Dec 14, 2006 02:59 AM

                              I was just at Popeye's at York U again yesterday. I can't place it, but there was just something off with the chicken (plus I asked for mild and I think they gave me one spicy piece). Honestly I just go there for the biscuits which I just love.

                              Plus they don't seem to have heard about cutlery there. None to be found anywhere (I know, you're supposed to eat it with your hands, but it's close to impossible!).

                              1. re: EB_TO
                                Teep Dec 14, 2006 03:06 PM

                                Could it be the oil that is off?

                                I had cole slaw and got a plastic fork-spoon. (Has tines like a fork but spoon shaped.)

                                1. re: Teep
                                  e
                                  EB_TO Dec 14, 2006 07:36 PM

                                  Could've been the oil, I don't know. It just wasn't as good as I remembered it to be.

                                  Today my brother brought back 12 biscuits from there and that was our "lunch". Gotta love those biscuits! ;)

                        2. f
                          Fredster Dec 10, 2006 07:46 AM

                          Popeye's is not good and the locations here are Halal..... No way, Jose!!!! Mary Brown's is an undercooked and overpriced disaster. Go to Chick-N-Joy for something truly wonderful.

                          1. Olivia Dec 16, 2006 08:34 PM

                            Given that there are 30 replies, I doubt my two cents is going to matter, but I do love me some fried chicken, so I must comment.

                            The best fried chicken I've found in this city, aside from that which I make at home, is Popeye's.

                            The Popeye's at Yonge & Bloor isn't too great, but I've enjoyed the ones at College & Spadina, Yonge & Dundas, and Eglington & Dufferin.

                            Fredster, I don't understand your comment about Halal--what's wrong with that? When I have the choice, I will always go for meats that are Halal or Kosher, or best of all, organic. Organic fried chicken: now THAT would be awesome.

                            1. r
                              redcoconut Jan 15, 2007 05:44 AM

                              It seems there is really no good fried chicken in the t-dot, which is why I make my own. It's easy to make, just really messy with the batter and all...

                              I have never tried Popeye's, because the prices turned me off. I figured I wouldn't be getting anything better than KFC. I have heard KFC has changed the recipe the use to be more health concious. I have always thought KFC chicken has gone downhill in the past few years, it was not bad when you got extra crispy and mostly white meat, but I don't think they let you have that option anymore.

                              I have heard that Planet Hollywood makes a fried chicken with Captain Crunch batter. I have done this before myself (I try all kinds of things for batter) and it was good, but haven't tried their version.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: redcoconut
                                e
                                embee Jan 16, 2007 04:27 AM

                                You can't really compare Popeyes with KFC. Popeye's cuts large chickens into standard pieces. A Popeyes chicken breast is easily the size of 2-3 pieces of KFC and has, proportionally, much more edible meat.

                                There seems to be no consistency among Popeyes locations. Their spicy chicken is sometimes, at some locations, really excellent stuff. The biscuits may be the best widely available ones in Toronto (though not as good as Mildred Pierce). The sides are more interesting than the ones at KFC (red beans & rice; corn on the cob).

                                I don't much like their other food, but the spicy chicken is worth a try. I've found the Overlea and Lawrence/Midland locations to be pretty reliable.

                                I believe Planet Hollywood has shut down.

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