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El Pollo Rico - Wheaton, MD

The chicken here is addictive. I've seen it have a crack-like effect on some of my friends :) Not only does it smell heavenly, it's looks good and most importantly, it tastes fabulous! There are times when I crave this place and go out of my way to get it. If you're looking for ambiance and fancy frills you've got the wrong place. Their only focus is the chicken. The sides are fries and coleslaw. I've never been a fan of the slaw. But I love the steak fries. The chicken comes with two little sauces. A green one, that is basically pureed/crushed green jalapenos. The other is a tangy mayo sauce. What I usually do is mix the two...mmmm....heaven. The meal comes on an unpretentious styrofoam plate. You have to have an Inka Cola to wash it all down. Warning, your hands will get greasy and messy, so ask for plenty of napkins. Also, if you go during lunch or dinner time, be prepared to wait in line. I've seen it go down the block despite the fact that there are two other places that offer a similar style chicken. This one is still the best. Enjoy!

2541 Ennalls Ave
Silver Spring, MD 20902
(301) 942-4419

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  1. I also like Super Chicken Pio Pio, another pollo a la brasa spot a few doors down the hill in the same strip mall. Pollo Rico gets all the attention from Zagat's, but I think Super Chicken's bird is just as good. Same 2 sauces, Inca Cola, but most of the sides are different. They have rice, beans, salad and fried yuca.

    This has been an ongoing debate between my friends for the last 10 years - sometime this summer we are going to have a Wheaton Pollo Challenge, between Pollo Rico, Super Chicken, Chicken Place at Georgia Ave and University Blvd, and Crisp n Juicy to settle this once and for all.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kinglearz

      Yes, we need a Pollo Smackdown. Post timing and let's all judge.

      1. re: chowsearch

        Chicken challenge is a great idea. I've had Pollo Rico and Super Chicken & I give a slight edge to SC because it's less crowded and I think the chicken comes to you hotter off the grill. But I'm open to taste-test persuasion.

      2. re: kinglearz

        I'm definitely down for a pollo smack down. Of course I gotta be a taster! ;)

      3. You have good taste! EPR tends to be a board favorite. I think it's because it's the freshest.

        1. This, like pizza threads, always get a lot of varied responses and notes. However, the peruvian chicken threads are much more friendly in general.

          A smackdown is a good idea, but nearly impossible with how many places that would qualify exist in any one area alone - much less the whole metro region.

          Typically the differences are in options and quality of the sides, and the quality of the chicken. To my knowledge, in all of the threads over the years, no one has even nominated one place to have it ALL working right. EPR often gets the vote for the chicken, but misses on sides. Others have great sides, but miss on the chicken.

          Unfortunately I think the one that was closest, El Pollo Real - in Herndon - closed for some reason. They always seemed to have good business but I know general operations started getting shaky near the end.

          Now there's only one and a half Pollo outlets in Herndon/Reston. My non scientific bias is that Arlington boasts the greatest number of options - including the other EPR location.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Dennis S

            How about a MD Pollo Smackdown: University Blvd from Georgia to New Hampshire Aves, which I guess would be about 6 or 7 places including the two by EPR, and maybe a VA one suggested by someone more familiar. The cavernous EPR near Murky/Common Grounds is bigger, cleaner, more family-friendly and has more throughput than the one in Wheaton, so it's true that the chicken range is different in VA. I don't know enough about the Rockville ones to know if they are deserving of a rumble.

          2. I've been to this place, El Pollo Rico, just once, and it's the real deal. I love it!

            That said, I'd love to participate in a chicken smackdown tour. Please post the details!

            For the record, various Crisp & Juicy outlets got me hooked. Then I found Que Rico in Owings Mills where I work. And soon there will be a similar styled place in Laurel on the AA side of Rt 198 opening.

            heh heh heh

            www.roguefood.com

            1 Reply
            1. re: Pool Boy

              Is it true Crisp N Juicy opened near the Owings Mills Mall? How's Que Rico-is that the one next to the Hair Cuttery? Sems I tried that one and it was just ok. I love Crisp N Juicy

            2. Oooh, count me in for a smackdown too. I alternate between Don Pollo in the Twinbrook Shopping Center, Crisp & Juicy, and EPR. I love fried yucca and would do EPR more if they offered it. Fried yucca + the spicy mayo = heaven.

              4 Replies
              1. re: marianna trench

                what pollo places along rockville pike are good and which can be avoided?

                1. re: chowsearch

                  Anyone know if there are enough good pollo places along Rockville Pike and among the new ones near University+New Hampshire Ave. near Pollo Campero (a Popeye's wannabee?) to necessitate a three-trip smackdown?

                  1. re: chowsearch

                    It's not all that new but Senor Chicken in the shopping center just north of the University-N.H. Ave.intersection has been consistently good for years. It's birds certainly are worthy of smackdown competition. The fact is the Peruvian chicken places are all over. There's one in Four Corners (Colesville), think it's Pollero Trujillo, and a few on Piney Branch. I think the University corridor suggested above (Ga. to N.H.) is logical for a smackdown. `Crisp & Juicy' is a decent bird but the atmo is too homogenized IMHO to win a `real deal' designation.

                    1. re: dan f.

                      I'll try to make a list on that route and then maybe some will know if any are avoidably bad.

              2. Went to Pollo Rico in Wheaton on Sunday. No line when I ordered but line was out the door by the time I walked out w/ chicken. Main difference between EPR and Super Chicken may well be side offerings. EPR packs fries & coleslaw up for you when you order a whole chicken. SC gives you some options, yucca, rice & beans etc. Bird itself at EPR was delectable. I asked for a chicken ``fresh off the grill'' and the counterman gave me one from the top of the growing mountain of chickens in the display case. Good spice mixture, definite not of cumin. Skin texture had both crispy, crunchy elements. All around, a chicken to treasure.

                1. Someone can correct me, but I believe there is also one in the Clarendon area (VA)? Whatever it was called, same idea, I ate there and it was delicious and crazy popular.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: inbox_blues

                    You're correct - same owners, same name, etc. Arlington and Wheaton, though, probably have the most dense collection of pollo places in general.

                  2. Well, looks like you're gonna have to start eating at super chicken: El Pollo Rico has been shut down by the law.

                    http://www.nbc4.com/news/13671689/det...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kinglearz

                      I saw this in the Washington Post this morning. This totally bites. >:-(

                      www.roguefood.com

                    2. Too bad about the news. I really liked EPR in Wheaton and Clarendon.

                      I don't know the history of "Super Chicken," but I understand today it is a 2nd location of Pio Pio (first location is on Wilson, around the corner from EPR).

                      I've been to about a dozen Pollo a la brasa joints in the area & Pio Pio is near the top of my list.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: 3monkeys

                        My new favorite is Golden Chicken in S. Arlington on Colombia Pike near Four Mile Run Dr. Maybe they have other locations? Always seems fresh to me, and the spicing is suitably powerful. Sides are well above average.