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What to order at Popeye's? [split from a discussion on the Boston board]

Ok, I give. Can someone tell me what is so great about Popeye's? Is it head and shoulders above KFC? I've never seen hounds so excited about a fast food chain restaurant, and I respect all of my fellow hounds' opinions. I've never been there so I plead ignorance and hope you will fill me in on what is so great. I once told a friend from the south that i liked KFCs biscuits (mostly b/c that was pretty much the only place i could get them) and she said once I had a good southern biscuit I'd never wanna taste a KFC biscuit again. Do you think she'd have a little more respect for Popeye's?

Most importantly, all you guys who are so psyched for it to open, what will you order when you finally get there? Very curious on what's good and why.

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  1. It's actually not that good, twentyoystahs, at least not in my experience. I've been twice, once in Louisiana and one in Toronto. Louisiana was pretty good, for fast food (but you know, I may have been stoned on jambalaya for several days at that point) and Toronto was not. The food had been sitting around for a while and the sides were pretty grim: I remember prefab mashed potatoes with chemical-tasting gravy, and fries which were, well fries. Plus a dry biscuit.

    But you know, other people's mileage has clearly varied.

    1. I do think their biscuits are better than KFC's - they have more butter on them. In my opinion, the only thing that Popeye's has going for them is their onion rings. The rings are incredible. They use the same batter as the chicken and actually make them fresh for you - they truly are dipped by hand (these aren't frozen rings). You usually have to wait a few mintues because they are cooked to order.

      I actually think their chicken sucks. There is hardly any meat on it - KFC is much better.

      Now, if you want real southern fried chicken, find you a Bojangles the next time you're down south!

      2 Replies
      1. re: DC Gal

        bojangles... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

        1. re: DC Gal

          actually some locations do have the freezer-to-fryer onion rings, like all the ones in Vegas and its just the monthly special too...

        2. The Spicy Chicken only if fresh. I don't care for any of the sides.

          1. I like the variety in side items - the red beans and rice and dirty rice are both good.

            1. I like the mashed potatoes with cajun gravy a lot, and usually get a large container to go for later when I stop in, the fries are good. I'm a weirdo in that I don't really like chicken on the bone, so I get their tenders (spicy) and cajun mustard dipping sauce. If the Popeye's is busy, expect fresher food that's spent less time under the heat lamps, it it's not busy either walk out or expect dried out food. I hugely prefer Popeye's to KFC as far as fast food chicken goes. The biscuits at Popeye's are greasier and saltier...I heard they deep fry them, but I suspect that is the stuff of urban legends.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ballulah

                In high school, I worked at a local fried chicken establishment where we sold "Puffs, deep-fried butermilk biscuits" - sounds gross, huh? But, with some honey...mmm...

                1. re: ballulah

                  the biscuits aren't fried, they are baked in ovens...

                2. The catfish has been pretty good here in Berkeley, as has the chicken--but not the spicy, the regular. It seems to me there is less flavor in the spicy though there's more spice. Like they substituted subtlety of seasoning because they thought they could get away with it. Chicken underneath is juicy and good. I don't eat the biscuits (because the dog is waiting and even though they're pretty salty, the chicken crust is way saltier still) but they're very rich-tasting. The fries are quite good but like all fries, ephemeral. Take them home at your risk. The shrimp were pretty good of the lots of breading sort but certainly not nasty.

                  1. Never been a fan of fried anything ( except fries done well) but one night starved with little options and lazyness kicking in I stopped. Ordered the spicy version chicken . I have to admit with honey that chicken was pretty tasty. It was definitely fresh, not greasy or congealed as if sitting under lamps. Maybe it's different in Florida, they have a pretty brisk business judging by the drive throu traffic and walk in.
                    All I'm saying is that I was pleasantly surprised. It would not become a regular thing on my menu but in a bind.... Good to know there is an alternative to everything else out heere.

                    1. like the red beans and rice alot

                      1. Rice & Mashers both yummy. Be sure to ask for strawberry jelly with your biscuits.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Oh Robin

                          I've only ever seen grape jelly at Popeye's, I saw one lady in line at the one on 125th St and St Nicholas in NYC literally have an apoplectic fit because they were out of grape jelly. That's serious!

                          1. re: ballulah

                            the one on 125th is the quintessential Popeye's. Also open late.

                            Actually, living in Harlem for a year changed me from occasional KFC to a Popeye's supporter. Everyone knows Popeye's is better chicken. :)

                            1. re: fara

                              It's usually really fresh as well...so is the one on 145th. I've never not seen a line there, which is a good sign, any time of the day or night.

                        2. Dark-Meat Chicken Spicy(white-meat is often dry), Red Beans & Rice and Biscuits with Honey are pretty good if consumed when freshly made. None of it travels well! I don't recall ever seeing Onion Rings, mentioned above, on the menu but I'm gonna check soon.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sel

                            Onion rings are almost NEVER on the menu. You have to ask for them to be made fresh, which is why the staff is usually pretty reluctant to make them. Well worth the effort though. They're not breading-heavy like Burger King's onion rings.

                          2. If your order chicken, make sure you order it spicy. The regular chicken is bland and tasteless in my opinion.

                            1. I totally dig Popeye's chicken over KFC. Starting with the chicken which (when I get it) is always very meaty. I get the regular, white meat and I find that the tenders are kind of nasty even though I'm not a huge chicken-on-the-bone fan....theirs is gooooood. The biscuits almost seem to have crack or something else that's addictive sprinkled on them....they are quite good....way better than KFC. I also dig the taters with the cajun gravy over KFC. Now that there's a Popeye's in Hartford, CT, I will never ever go to a KFC again.
                              p.s. now I've gotta try the onion rings based on a reply below...they sound great!

                              1. They opened up a Popeye's near me in Norwood NJ. I've been there 3 times, I always order the dark meat spicy. During this time I then went to the KFC in Nanuet NY and ordered the extra crispy. I've always remembered Popeye's being a better tasting chicken, but after my visits I have to say KFC faired better. The batter at KFC was crunchier, and not as heavy as the Norwood Popeye's. But, for the biscuits, Popeye's were better.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: michele cindy

                                  We have great local mom & pop homemade fried chicken spots out in the country where I live, but I sometimes get a craving for Popeyes, I find it better than KFC, Browns, or other chain spots.

                                  I get spicy recipie white meat only, a side of red beans, and rice, and some dirty rice.

                                2. 3 piece spicy dark, red beans and rice. They will give me all thighs if I ask. I've heard Popeyes varies greatly by location. The one in Des Moines kicks ass. They are always busy, so it's always fresh. The service is unlike anything you will ever encounter at a fast food place. Very nice people. The ONLY fast food I eat. The only chain I frequent. Blows KFC away. All that said, no other options for fast fried chicken here.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Bobfrmia

                                    they do vary very greatly between locations...unfortunately there's no continuity...

                                  2. If I didn't have Bojangles around here, I'd probably try Popeyes more often. As it is, though - no comparison, although IMHO, both are better than KFC.

                                    1. I will take Popeye's over KFC any day! I only eat white meat (breasts), and the pieces are juicy , spicy and very large, especially when compared to the size of KFC's breasts. The red beans and rice are awesome, and the dirty rice is also very good. They have cajun fries that have a nice tang to them, and the biscuits are more buttery, flatter and moister. My only problem is that you really do have to be choosy, here anyway, about which one you go to. They are all over the place, but the one closest to us is awful, so we drive a bit further and get really good food.

                                      1. Spicy chicken (I like the white meat, their wings are big and breasts are my favorite). For sides, try them all... dirty rice, red beans and rice, mashed potato, cole slaw (I forget what else they have).

                                        I usually get a three piece combination, spicy, white meat.

                                        Popeyes is my favorite junk food.

                                        1. I really like KFC original. But I like Popeye's spicy chicken, their sides, and biscuits even better. I also get their shrimp basket...good portion of shrimp, biscuit, and a side...$3.99. The shrimp has a little kick to it. Unfortunately it does matter which location you go to. If you have a good store, Popeye's food is really good...I didn't say healthy.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: southerngal

                                            you must go to an inexpensive location your shrimp basket is 3.99, the ones in Las Vegas are 6.69...

                                            1. re: lvkewlkid

                                              I live near New Orleans. There are LOT'S of Popeye's in the area. With all the great food we have to choose from...Popeye's is very popular.

                                          2. Has anyone tried any of their Po'boys? A lady I work with says they are great, but I'm a little hesitant.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: pollymerase

                                              yeh i like the catfish poboy and the spicy strips po boy

                                            2. I think Popeye's gets such rave reviews because of the competition. KFC is complete garbage.

                                              1. LOVE their red beans & rice and spicy chicken.

                                                1. I changed my mind, this stuff is great!! I'm at work eating Popeyes as I type, and I must say, it's tasty. The Chicken is nice and crispy, juicy, and has a pretty good kick. Red beans and rice is great, and the biscuit is perfect. HUGE step above KFC IMO.

                                                  1. When Popeye's has crawfish, try some o' dat. They have crawfish etouffee and popcorn crawfish too. For fast food, this is ridiculously good.

                                                    I also second the kudos for the dirty rice and the biscuits.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Bob W

                                                      Amen to the crawfish bites! That buttery sauce that comes with them is delish!

                                                      The only other thing I really like is the dirty rice and the heavenly biscuits.

                                                    2. Popeye's over KFC. I used to lurv The Colonel's poultry, but after it being unavailable to a urban-dwelling Chicagoan like myself(meaning...not Chicagoland suburbs where KFC *is* around) for a decade+...this KFC paucity brought my attention to the aforementioned...

                                                      So! much better! (I offer this after having KFC *for the first time in a looooong time* a few weeks ago). It's all about the "spicy" chicken fyi and their mashed potatoes and gravy are sooooo much more flavorful than the competitor's. I also dig the file'-esque red beans and rice(why you'd put file' in red beans and rice, I dunno....but, I taste it in 'em), the mayo-y coleslaw ain't bad neither, and throw in some mac 'n cheese...it's "chain," but not an affront by any means. That's what I stick to...I've never ordered otherwise. The biscuits are just okay if soaked in honey(not my chicken, please...ugh...honey on fried chicken)....but, I'm not a biscuit fan generally so there ya go....

                                                      1. Maybe it's just my bad luck but I find the chicken at Popeyes tougher and stringer that the chicken at KFC

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: malibumike

                                                          The key to going to Popeye's is going when they are busy, that way you get the chicken not long after coming out the oil.
                                                          Three piece spicy with a side of red beans (base ingredient is lard...that's why they are so good), mashed taters are always good and I dig the dirty rice. I'm a purist, so I don't get any of the sandwiches, only the fried chicken.
                                                          Now that I don't live in NO going to Popeyes is a treat, but it can be hit or miss up here.

                                                        2. In two words, green beans. Name another fast food place that has cooked veg. The red beans and rice are a great substitute for fries as well. I don't eat there often but I'm hoping that somehow the green beans and red beans and rice cancel out the deleterious effects of the fried chicken and biscuits.