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In praise of my fast food indulgence, Popeye's... this one's for you jupiter and sivyaleah!!

On the recent McDonald's ramblings, several of us waxed poetic about Popeye's fried chicken, specifically making a crispy skin taco! Jupiter admitted to making skin tacos with the crispy skin and filling them with cole slaw! Well, I told my boyfriend about this invention, and it got us started on a Popeye's craving, so we went last night! Had the Spicy Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and the biscuit with butter and honey... so good! My favorite part of the evening... my boyfriend ripped a big piece of crispy skin off his chicken breast handed it over to me and said, "Here, for your skin taco!!" That's love on so many levels!!! :-) Filled it with the mashed potatoes and gravy and yum! You know what else I love about Popeye's? The music! Oh, the sweet music! I don't know if every Popeye's has the same music, but the one by us has Ray Charles and B.B. King and Gladys Knight... it's just wonderful! Just try and stop me from dancing in my seat while eating my skin tacos and listening to Ray Charles!! So, I may not have a huge McDonald's addiction, but I do have a weakness... don't we all?!

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  1. I never really cared for Popeye's. I used to love Bojangles, then they disappeared. Their breading was spicier & better than Popeye's, their biscuits & dirty rice definitely better. I'd say it may have been the only fast food chain I really ever had a weakness for.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Peter Cherches

      Just FYI, Bojangels is around in a lot of states...

      Watch out for the annoying music on the link: http://www.bojangles.com/bojangles/lo...

    2. I'll have to try that....at popeyes and other chicken chains! ...kind of sounds gross though...a skin taco.....

      I had a Popeye's FEAST once with a tasting of everything on the menu....good stuff! Liked the chicken and the dirty rice.....

      1 Reply
      1. re: Xericx

        When I was a kid I used to wrap rice and meat in the skin and call it sushi. I still do it, except I don't call it sushi anymore.

      2. This skin taco honestly doesn't sound bad - but it unfortunately reminds me of this outrage that KFC is advertising around here - they take some chicken, throw in some canned corn, put mashed and gravy on top, then some cheese, and call it some kinda bowl. I understand the concept that it all ends up in the same place - but my god, don't people even pretend to have a semblance of a capable and differentiating palate any more? Why not stir the entire mess into a giant plastic tub of coke and drink it all?

        3 Replies
        1. re: applehome

          Oh no, you cannot even compare the skin taco to KFC's puke bowl!!! That's just wrong!

          1. re: applehome

            that's disgusting. and your last line made me laugh out loud.

            however, Popeye's does not do that kind of thing. Popeye's is what fast food was meant to be. Or maybe what it was 30 years ago? I don't know.

            1. re: applehome

              That thing is rather disgusting, isn't it? The picture is enough to give me indigestion for a year.

            2. Popeye's also has AWESOME onion rings! They use real and fresh sliced onions and then the same spicy batter they put on the chicken. And, the rings are always FRESH because they don't cook them until you order them! It's a beautiful little secret in the fast food world! We actually just had an order of them tonight.

              4 Replies
              1. re: DC Gal

                I haven't tried the onion rings... thanks for that tip!

                1. re: Katie Nell

                  Warning: not all Popeyes make onion rings. And expect a dirty look when you order them from the ones that do. As DC_Gal indicates, they are made to order, and are always hot and fresh -- probably the best thing on the menu.

                  1. re: Dave Feldman

                    That is very true! When I got them last week, I even went through the drive thru. I was shocked that they let me sit in line and wait for the rings. I would have been perfectly fine pulling over to the side or something, but the guy never told me to. Instead, I held up the whole line - all for those wonderful onion rings. they're worth it!

                    1. re: DC Gal

                      Does anyone else think that they have changed the onion ring batter in the past 2 years?

              2. Thanks! I just adore Popeyes. When they first opened in NYC, back in, geez was it the early 80's, late 70's? there was only one store on 42nd Street. It was in a HUGE space, with a stained glass ceiling (probably plastic tho). I think the space used to be a theatre. Anyway - my office was across the street pretty much and I went there nearly daily. This was long before anyone knew about cholesterol issues and I was only in my early 20's so who cared, right?

                My dad even bought stock in the company - he loved that chicken too!

                Then they floundered for a long time and started closing up stores. The one on 42nd disappeared, too large and probably too much money to run. Boy I missed my chicken and those wonderful biscuits!

                Thankfully a few stores still managed to hold on in NY - the one on West 34th near Penn Station :-), kind of scary at times to be in, quite a crowd...

                Many years later, they started popping up here and there. I moved out to NJ about 5 years ago and was pleased to discover that there was one in my town! Wow! But of course, by now, it's like 20 years later and middle age has crept up and I can't eat it every day - or even weekly, so my fix is maybe on a monthly basis (ok, maybe a bit more than that, don't tell my doctor). But I still think that they are the ones that "do chicken right". The spicy chicken is perfect every time, always fresh it seems, always crunchy, just the right amount of heat. Great sides, the mac and cheese actually tastes like mac and cheese, not fake like the one at KFC and their biscuits are to die for. And other sides are interesting and not found at other fast food places - dirty rice, yum!

                Plus, I love how they have these specials sometimes which are so totally southern, like catfish or just chicken wing specials. My oh my!

                And yes, the music rocks!

                I could was poetic about Popeyes for quite a while. The only other place in my area which I think gives it a run for it's money is a local restaurant, Freshwaters in Plainfield NJ, which is true southern/cajun/creole cooking and yep, they do chicken right there too :-). But for the quick fix, without having to do a sit down meal, I'm down w/Popeye's over any fast food joint all the way!

                1 Reply
                1. re: sivyaleah

                  I had honestly never eaten at Popeye's until we moved to Kansas City about two years ago! I've just loved it from the beginning, but it makes me wonder why there are so many KFC's everywhere else you go! It used to be somewhat decent when I was younger, but now... blech! And I haven't tried the mac n' cheese yet, so another reason to head back to Popeye's! Ha... as if I needed a reason! :-)

                2. I "love that chicken"! In college I knew someone who said he found out which day they'd change out the grease and would get his right before because the pepper had built up and it was spicier. Don't know about if that really works, but thought it was funny.

                  I had forgotten about the onion rings - better off not eating too many of those, but now that you've reminded me...... ;-)

                  1. I know a lot of people love Popeye's spicy chicken, but the mild is classic southern fried chicken IMO. With fries, cole slaw and Dr. Pepper ... there's only one Popeye's here in Richmond and it's not exactly in the best area but it's worth the drive.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: MandalayVA

                      I do not think that there is a popeyes in a decent area.

                      1. re: beteez

                        the only popeye's in my area is in the airport, past security. that would be the other extreme!

                        1. re: beteez

                          Not true--the Popeye's in Stafford VA is located in a nice, well-lit strip mall. I drive up to DC a lot and usually hit it on my way home.

                          1. re: MandalayVA

                            There are 4 Popeyes here in S.F. and though they are not "In Pacific Heights" they certainly are in areas that are not frightening to go to...

                            1. re: ChowFun_derek

                              I live in a very nice town in NJ and we have one. Granted it's close to the highway, on the edge of another town, but again, still existing within the boundaries of an upscale town.

                          2. re: beteez

                            Here in Northern Virginia there are several Popeye's in low-crime, high-income areas: Falls Church, Chantilly, Leesburg to name three. I think they qualify as "decent."

                          3. re: MandalayVA

                            Not true! another Popeyes opened in Richmond, VA back in March '06 on the corner of Laburnum Ave and Mechanicsville Tnpk. At the begining they had huge lines, at the DT and inside. Now, it is still busy but worth the wait. By the way, they do sell Onion Rings...I get them all the time. Hope that helped.

                          4. In Los Angeles, they tend to be in the sketchier 'hoods. There's one right by my work that I pass everyday, after reading these posts I'm hitting it tonight. So the must have's are the spicy chicken, onion rings and biscuits...any other reco's?

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: davinagr

                              I like the gravy too... it's just slightly spicy! And don't forget the butter and honey for your biscuit either!

                              I'm usually a once-a-monther, but this month, I've been twice! We went to one in Wichita, KS this past weekend and had the most awesome cashier! I wanted to take her back to my Popeye's in Kansas City! "Oh hon, you gotta have the Mississippi Mud Cake! It ain't gonna hurt ya none to put on a few pounds!"

                              1. re: Katie Nell

                                I went last night, unfortunately my location doesn't serve the onion rings...Waaahhhh. I was jonesin' for those after this thread. They were out of spicy so I got regular and found the batter to be a little too bland and crunchy (thought I was going to break a tooth) for me. Undeterred, I will definately get the spicy next time. I tried the Mac n Cheese and Green Beans as my sides. The Mac was obviously the same KFC stuff (Stouffers) and the beans were sunken in this white glutinous sauce with way too much chopped pork meat which I don't eat. This visit wasn't a hit to me, I'll try it one more time for the chicken and skip the sides.

                                1. re: davinagr

                                  For what it's worth, I do not like the regular fried chicken and I do not like the macaroni and cheese! I've never had the green beans... I usually just get mashed potatoes and gravy, I do like the gravy, and I'm not even that big of a gravy fan! Sorry it wasn't a hit... better luck next time!

                                  1. re: davinagr

                                    The mac & cheese I get in the Popeyes I go to tastes nothing at all like KFC's. It's an entirely different animal. Much closer to homemade in taste and texture. I wonder if they use different vendors in different parts of the country?

                                    1. re: sivyaleah

                                      It must, because the one's that I have it had, it's been like davinagr describes.

                                2. re: davinagr

                                  There's one in Glendale, down the hill from the Brand Library (Glenoaks, I think) which is a pretty "un-sketchy" neighborhood.

                                  If the branch you go to gets their sweet potato pies frrom 27th Street Bakery, (some still do, I think...) get one.

                                  I remember when Popeye's first hit LA, BEFORE Pollo Loco premiered (I lived about two miles from Pollo Loco's first US location, at Alvarado near 6th) and even then Popeye's was way better than KFC, which always reminded me of the "fried chicken" in Swanson TV Dinners....

                                3. Many years ago Popeyes used to have a really good fresh banana pudding that was served with a spork! not sure why they got rid of it- it was yummy from what I remember (but I was in high school then)

                                  1. Yeah love Popeye's. It was reputedly Paul Prudhomme's favorite junk food. He said their chicken had roundness.

                                    First of the year, I moved into a neighborhood that has a Popeye's, 4 Indian places, a tacqueria, a cheesesteak joint, Thai restaurant, 2 Halal grocers, 2 Mexican markets, Jamaican, Turkish and not too far from 4th St. Where have I eaten most? Popeye's of course.

                                    My mother and I even had a Popeye's buffet on the night we missed my cousin's wedding reception because Bay Bridge on ramp closures made it impossible for me to get back to Berkeley from SF to pick her up on time. We both enjoyed the fastfood buffet, but sorry we missed the chocolate fountain at the reception!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: chocolatetartguy

                                      LOL! That's MY 'hood! I've avoided Popeye's because I'm afraid I'll ignore all the other places if I get hooked. (By the way, you forgot to mention the 'Splitter. Have you tried the Jamaican place?)

                                    2. Growing up in Louisiana, this was the only fried chicken you'd actually eat out (other than a soul food place). But, I'm shocked that no one mentioned their beans and rice. Wow! They are soooo good. Super creamy red beans with rice that is cooked to perfection.

                                      I generally cook bean on Mondays, especially in the cooler months, but if I get a craving, I run to Popeye's!

                                      "Love that chicken!"

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: geg5150

                                        Des Moines got their first Popeyes a late last year. I had to wait a couple months to go, as the lines were at times 2-3 hours long. The KFC 2 blocks up the street sat empty.
                                        Finally things calmed down and I was able to get my spicy dark and red beans and rice. Not only is this just real good, the people that work there are great. "Three piece dark?, would you like all legs, thighs or a mix?" Damn, I never got to choose before. I still tell people I rarely do fast food or chains. I don't mean to lie, I just never think of Popeyes as such. Now I just wish we had the onion rings.

                                      2. I'm wondering why they don't have more locations??

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: fara

                                          Good question. In Des Moines some young kid just out of college had some somewhere and thought it would go over well here. Why it took so long, who knows. He initally planned on 2 more in the next 2 years, but due to the success of the first one has decided to fast track them. Maybe everyone was afraid to take on KFC. They have the marketing power. I've still never seen a Popeyes commercial here.
                                          Popeyes product is far superior to KFC. I want to try the catfish, but just can't stop ordering the spicy chicken.
                                          So, how's the catfish? Should I try harder?

                                          1. re: Bobfrmia

                                            Nah, no nee to try harder for the catfish. It was fine, not memorably good or bad, the only thing I do remember was it was only something I'd order once.

                                          2. re: fara

                                            I'm not sure about other areas, but there are a ton here in Kansas City (16 in the metro area, to be exact!)

                                          3. their red beans and rice is addicting.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: meltedcheese

                                              The chicken is good, but my favorite meal from Popeye's is a large red beans & rice, into which I mix a small side of dirty rice. I like a high rice-to-beans ratio. And a biscuit for dipping in the rb & r.

                                            2. I live in Dayton, Ohio and I'm surprised nobody mentioned the red beans & rice before you did.

                                              My standard order is a 3 piece spicey meal, red beans & rice, 2 jalepeno peppers and a big ole' Coke to wash it down!

                                              1. I love popeyes. There is nothing on the menu that I haven't liked. However, has anyone ever noticed that depending on the branch, the biscuits and the size of the chicken peices are different?

                                                1. the chicken strips are good as are the fries, both go good with the confetti honey mustard dipping sauce.

                                                  1. I could really use some of their red beans and rice and a biscuit with honey right about now - my guilty pleasure
                                                    Unfortunately Indy has just 2 and neither are in the greatest of neighborhoods

                                                    1. I tend to not go for fried chicken too often due to the fat factor but when I did, I'd always opt for local joints like Mrs. Peter's (Kansas City, KS) or Stroud's (85th & Troost, Kansas City, MO), but both of them are now history and it's a long to Stroud's other venue up north. So typically, I make due with Go Chicken Go (a local shop) on Troost about 50th Street, At least I know I can get my gizzard fix there,

                                                      I loathe KFC. Just too salty. And too many rude employees. And the ones I've seen are just too dirty.

                                                      The first time I ever tried Popeye's was about eight years ago when I did secret shopping work for them. I loved the stuff! Always very fresh tasting and excellent side dishes. And with the exception of the one in my immediate Midtown neighborhood, all were clean and seemed to be well operated. Since the one right in my 'hood was so bad (and actually closed several months ago), I just didn't continue to eat at Popeye's and never really thought of them when I drove by them when I was out and about. There were always other places I wanted to eat.

                                                      But now this thread has me "inspired." I checked their site and found a couple Popeye's within several miles of me so maybe I'll go check 'em out. Thanks for the reminder about Popeye's, Katie. :)

                                                      1. Hey, I'm bummed! I found out in another thread that Popeye's has fried chicken livers in some locations! Someone posted about it - I think she's in Mississipi. Obviously, it's a regional thing but dang! Some of us northeasteners love those too!

                                                        1. I have considered Popeye's onion rings to be the best anywhere for years! I recently moved
                                                          to Williamsburg from Northern Virginia and was hoping to cop some luscious onion rings
                                                          at a Popeyes I spotted in the Denbigh section of Newport News. Not only did they not have onion rings, but the chicken was greasy, and the dirty rice and biscuits were just so so!
                                                          Very disapointed. I already knew that all Popeye's are not created equal. In my experience the one on Old Centreville Road in Herndon ( near Cox Communications offices) is da bomb!
                                                          You can barely tell they cook with oil. And the onion rings are kick ass. They aren't on the menu so you have to ask. Get some cajun mustard to dip them in. Delicious!

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: luvtoeatinva

                                                            Popeye's Chicken is one of my favorites, the breading is just perfect. They jsut started a video contest (http://www.bonafidechicken.com/), I hope I win, so I can get some free chcicken!

                                                            1. re: kbodnar

                                                              I was in Hawaii when I heard that the founder of Popeye's passed away. When I returned home I immediately went to Popeye's to get some chicken and pay my respects.

                                                          2. Anybody who loves Popeyes and has not had Bojangles has got to try it. So much better. It is like the fine dining of fast food. Fast food chain or not there is not any better fried chicken, biscuits, or sweet tea anywhere. And I am from Alabama, we take these things seriously.