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Getting a Popeye's near my office...recommendations?

I notice a new Popeye's is opening near my office and I've never been to one but have seen it mentioned on the board and wondered fans would recommend trying when that fateful day finally arrives.

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  1. Lucky you, great food. I'd give them a couple of weeks to get the crew trained and up to speed before you try it. They're a great chain.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mrbigshotno.1

      And even then, it might not be great. They opened one here in Boston,MA and it's just never seemed nearly as good as I've seen in other spots.

    2. Their red beans & rice one of my favorite fast food items (and there isn't much on that list).

      If you order the fried chicken, get it spicy.

      6 Replies
      1. re: summeranne

        I'll jump on the Popeye's bandwagon as well. I also prefer the spicy over mild version . The dirty rice is pretty good, but I find it depends on specific locations for its quality and consistency. The red beans and rice are always good. At the local location by me here in New Jersey, if you do not order biscuits first, they will ask you if you want 3 for a dollar. The best deals at Popeye's are usually on Tuesdays....many locations used to run a 2/$1 special in the south. Here in NJ, one location offers 20 pieces of dark meat only with two apple pies for $15.99. I do like the Cajun Fries, but only if I see them freshly prepared out of the fryolater and dumped.

        Check your area for free printable coupons.


        1. re: summeranne

          100% agree. The red beans are smoky and delicious and great with the spicy chicken.

          1. re: bayoucook

            My recommendation to Janet is to find a local chain or mom and pop for chicken. Popeye's red beans and rice are suscpisously smoky, liquid smoke perhaps, and their spicy chicken is nothing more than chicken with cayenne dumped on it. In Houston we have a local chain, Frenchy's, in a very diverse neighborhood situated between two universities with a Popeye's nearby. The Frenchy's is always packed, with long lines at the windows, and the drive thru wrapped around the building. Popeye's is virtually a ghostown. The beans and rice have andouille sausage, the chicken is well seasoned. Popeye's isn't bad, in a pinch, but for someone who only eats fried chicken once a year or more, I look for the best. There must be several places in Richmond better than Popeye's.

            1. re: James Cristinian

              This is one of the few cases where I prefer a chain over local offerings. The local fried chicken I've had has had one consistent quality - bland! And this is in NW Florida (which is often referred to as lower Alabama) Living in a small town does limit my options though. Heck we still have to drive to the next town for Popeyes even.

              1. re: James Cristinian

                We do not HAVE a local fried chicken place. At least not one with edible chicken. It's Popeye's or KFC. There aren't even any sit-down places to get fried chicken unless you count chains like Cracker Barrell.

                1. re: James Cristinian

                  liquid smoke is real smoke, ya know ...

            2. Definitely get the spicy, and it's best to go when they are busy, that way the chicken hasn't been sitting around and you get it fresh out the fryer.
              Red beans are excellent, but then again they start out with lard so it has to be good. The dirty rice does vary by location and the mashed potatoes are good as well, especially the gravy on them.

              13 Replies
              1. re: roro1831

                Oh man, I am in trouble. Do they serve breakfast too? <g> Spicy chicken, red beans and rice it shall be.

                1. re: roro1831

                  Do they really use lard in the red beans? My vegetarian friend thinks they're vegetarian!

                  1. re: bayoucook

                    I have a vegetarian friend who used to order New England Clam Chowder when dining out.....until I had dinner with him one time and I posed the question and alerted him to the fact many places use Salt Pork or Bacon in their recipes......I do not believe he will order it now unless he knows it is not an ingredient in the soup.

                    1. re: bayoucook

                      I'm just going by what a friend told me. Al Copeland, before he sold Popeye's, made sure he cut a deal that they would have to buy all spices and mixes from him and his spice company. My friend managed one of his Copeland's locations, who also served the red beans and bought from the spice company. She said they are so good because they start with lard.

                      1. re: bayoucook

                        According to the Popeye's website, the red beans are made with pork fat. http://popeyes.com/2008_Ingredients.pdf at p. 15.

                        As to the original question posted, Popeye's has the best fast food fried chicken out there. The spicy version is definitely the way to go (I prefer the dark meat). I also like to douse each bite with additional hot sauce. It's along the lines of Frank's or Crystal - pretty mild stuff.

                        As noted, the red beans & rice are a winner; the biscuits are decent (especially when slathered with honey), and the coleslaw isn't half bad. I'd skip the mashed potatoes (they taste like the box) and the fries (but then again, I don't like my fries battered).

                        It's a good thing that there isn't a Popeye's convenient to my home or office. I could eat fried chicken every day.

                        1. re: alanbarnes

                          fourunder, hopefully your vegetarian friend can overlook that small oversight and continue to eat the red beans. If not, more for you.

                          1. re: roro1831


                            I like the way you think....:-)

                            In general, I respect everyone's eating habits, but I really do not give thought to whether someone classifies him/herself, e.g., as a omnivore or as a pescetarian as I was informed above. The friend I referenced does eat fish, sometimes eggs and dairy. There was a time when I would not eat red meat in front of him, but those days have been removed.. At this time I do not recall if he uses butter, but I do know he had had cream cheese on a bagel.....in my mind, I do not see the difference in products derived from animals and as a result.....I will never understand non-meat eating diet......like you say....there's more for me....:-)

                            1. re: fourunder

                              The difference is that you can get milk, cheese, butter, etc., from an animal without killing it. I'm a carnivore, but even I can see that difference.
                              I will never be a vegetarian, but I would never denounce their beliefs because they aren't my own.
                              Now PETA, well, don't get me started on those crazies. Sorry, I mean people with another point of view.

                              1. re: Bobfrmia

                                The difference is that you can get milk, cheese, butter, etc., from an animal without killing it. I'm a carnivore, but even I can see that difference.

                                Bob, I do realize what you have highlighted. My buddy is near 60 and he stopped eating meat at the age of 17, for the reason as explained to me....he believes it is healthier. As for the dairy, cheeses, butter, cream cheese and etc.......some will argue it's not very healthy...., but isn't the fish being killed before the pescetarian eats it?....:-)

                                1. re: fourunder

                                  Absolutely, which is why they aren't considered vegetarians. I have found that a lot of vegetarians that I know initially claim health as the main issue to their carnivore friends. As the lifestyle becomes more common, a lot will admit it is the killing of the animals that truly drives them. Please note that I said "A lot" and "that I know".
                                  Personally, I'm opposed to having to explain your lifestyle choices to anyone.
                                  My daughter is a vegetarian. She runs into places all the time that tell her they have vegetarian entrees, only to find they contain fish, or even chicken.
                                  Drives her crazy. Wait, not PETA crazy. Change that to, it irritates her.

                            1. re: bayoucook

                              Yep. But since it says "pork fat" instead of "lard," maybe it hasn't been rendered. In other words, maybe the cracklins are still in there.

                              Mmmmm, cracklins...

                              1. re: bayoucook

                                   /lɑrd/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [lahrd] Show IPA
                                1. the rendered fat of hogs, esp. the internal fat of the abdomen.

                        2. As others have said, their spicy chicken and red beans and rice are very good, and their biscuits, too. My first love affair with Popeye's was in Paris....Paris Texas. As Bogart said in Casa Blanca, "We'll always have Paris". You will enjoy it, I'm sure.

                          1. my go to every time i get to eat popeye's is a 2 piece dark meat with dirty rice for my side. but i love their biscuits...always gotta have 1 extra.

                            1. I like the spicy but also really like the plain chicken. I think their mashed and gravy are awful and also don't like battered fries. Have not enjoyed any of the rice. But the biscuits are good (but quite salty). We just get biscuits and chicken from them.

                              1. Try the fried chicken. Its fantastic.

                                1. Do you have a Popeyes anywhere else near you? If not, you will probably be amazed at how long it will be before you try it. The first one in Des Moines opened a year or 3 ago, and the lines were unreal. Anytime, any day. The local News would go just to show the drive through lines the first couple of weeks. At times the wait was 3 hours. In a drive through line! It was at least a month before things calmed down enough for me to go. I won't wait in line for very long for anything.
                                  Oh, the food?
                                  3 piece spicy dark, with red beans and rice. I was schocked I could get something this good at a fast food place.
                                  Unfortunately, as the crowds thinned out, the customer service started to decline, the chicken seemed to get, I don't know, less fresh, and the prices went up.
                                  The first year if you ordered 3 piece dark, they let you pick your pieces. 3 thighs, no problem. Not anymore. That combined with the price increases has slowed my trips to once every few months. My Doctor would like to thank them.

                                  1. We try to hit Popeyes on Monday or Tuesday when they feature an 8-piece box, mixed (SPICY!) a large side and 6 biscuits for $12.99. Feeds 2-3 (4 if one's a kid with a small appetite). I like the mashed potatoes w/cajun gravy (potatoes are nothing special, but the gravy's got little indeterminate bits of chicken whatnots), but the dirty (cajun) rice is also quite nice. And the biscuits...ah, the biscuits -- another good reason for the gravy off the potatoes, or with some honey. Or, should you accidently have a leftover biscuit, warmed for breakfast the next morning.
                                    I've heard that their catfish is good, when they have it on the menu, but I've never got past the chicken to find out.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: podunkboy

                                      Accidently is the only way you would ever have a leftover biscuit.
                                      I'm unaware of any daily specials at the Popeyes here. Something I guess I should check into.

                                    2. Also agree spicy is the way to go and love those biscuits. I also really like the cole slaw. The bits of pickle in it give it an unique taste.

                                      1. biscuits biscuits biscuits

                                        1. I do have to add that I'm not really fond of their biscuits, but it appears I'm in the minority on that. I just find them pretty dry, and would rather eat another serving of chicken or red beans!

                                          1. Three piece spicy, with dirty rice, plus an extra biscuit.

                                            If your outpost has onion rings, get those too -- a great way to get more of that ridiculously good batter.

                                            I might as well confess to liking their battered fries as well.

                                            Of course, with fried food like this, the fresher the better, but the chicken seems to hold up pretty well under the heat lamps.

                                            1. I echo just about everybody else's opinions except James C. A friend of mine who was a regional manager of several Popeyes locations said they use bacon grease in the red beans, but that was in California. Maybe there's variations according to region. I wish they had their full-blown Cajun locations everywhere instead of just in Georgia. To summarize, I've been eating at Popeyes since they started (weren't they Pioneer before that?), and I'll never go back to another chicken place after tasting Popeyes. Oh yeah.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: Pirate Paul

                                                Popeye's started outside of New Orleans in Arabi, was never Pioneer. My family would drive to Arabi to get chicken from the very first location.They started to franchise in 1976

                                                1. re: Pirate Paul

                                                  You're telling me you wouldn't go to a local place that cooks chicken to order, has great reviews in local print plus chowhound, but instead go blindly to a national chain. The chicken does take 30 minutes to cook, Popeye's has the convenience factor, but unless, as some have posted that there is no alternative, and I'm going to ingest all those fat grams, I'm giving my money to a local business instead of a national chain.

                                                  1. re: James Cristinian

                                                    Unless you have info about Pirate Paul that isn't on this thread, you're assuming that he has "a local place that cooks chicken to order, has great reviews in local print plus chowhound." Even then, if he likes Popeye's better, that's his call. Taste is subjective.

                                                    Your opinion - despite its lack of useful information to those of us who don't live near Frenchy's - has been duly noted. Matter of fact, if I ever find myself in Houston again, I appreciate the info. And if you end up near Tuscaloosa, AL, Tulsa, OK, or Oldenburg, IN, I can point you in the direction of some pretty righteous fried chicken. But in a lot of places, local isn't necessarily better.

                                                    Popeye's may not be the best stuff out there, but it's well above average. Lay off the hating.

                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                      I'm not hating, just expressing as you say, my opinion, By the way, Pirate Paul has had numerous posts on the Texasboard with posts refering to Houston. I just think, given other alternatives, I'd rather spend my money locally. Actually, I wasn't refering to Frenchey's, which is "fast food", although there is always a twenty plus minute wait in the drive through of walk-up. I probably shouldn't have dragged a local name into the discussion. I won't bore you with the other place I was thinking about. Again, I'm not hating, it's just the last line saying he would never go to another place after tasting Popeye's that got me going. Too bad Pirate Paul is probably not awake now to join in, I've had his back at least once in local discussions. I probably shouldn't post on Wednesday night, it's the only night I work, extra late tonight, and I'm a little wound up.

                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                        Oh, Alanbarnes, what chicken place do you recommend in Tulsa?

                                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                                          It's been a few years, but the fried chicken at The Flying Roll was memorable.

                                                  2. I went to the vet's office to pick up some meds for our beagle and there was a big "Now Open" sign on Popeye's and I couldn't resist even though I knew they just opened (turns out they opened on Tuesday). It's cold and rainy here and I'm nursing a mild hangover (a misdemeanor one, not a felony) and some stick-to-your-ribs food seemed perfect.

                                                    I went through the drive through (there was a nice crowd but not packed, but this was around 11:15) and ordered a #2 dinner, spicy, all white meat with the red beans and rice for my side and headed back to the office.

                                                    Man oh man....this is GOOD stuff. The crust was crispy and spicy and not greasy, the chicken moist and with plenty of meat. I loved the red beans and rice....love some creamy pinto beans and biscuit, while not good as Bojangles (the king of biscuits IMO) it was very solid. I was not disappointed :-) Thanks Hounds for all of your helo!

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond


                                                      Seems the naysayers of Chains are not always correct.;-)

                                                      When it comes to food, I believe if you cannot make it better yourself......buy it made from others.

                                                      Popeye's Falls into this category.....and consider using it as a party food when you do not have time to cook yourself. Your guests will like it as much as you did and they will not be the wiser knowing you purchased it, instead of making it.....unless of course you tell them

                                                      1. My local Popeye's used to have green beans southern style on the menu. Now it has disappeared, leaving me disappointed. Where else could you get a cooked veg at a fast food joint?

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: EdwardAdams

                                                          KFC has green beans and corn on the cob. However the take out corn on the cob always disappoints.

                                                          1. re: EdwardAdams

                                                            I used to frequent a Popeyes in Huntsville, AL when I traveled there. It's the one on South Memorial Highway. They had a buffet that offered collard greens and I think (in my fuzzy memory) black eyed peas. I've not seen that anywhere else.

                                                          2. Oh you lucky person. I could eat their red beans & rice EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE and be happy.

                                                            The chicken is also very good - in my area though(Branford CT) if a particular fry cook(Mauricio) isn't working I will pass on the chicken. Once you have good popeyes chicken you will never eat KFC again.

                                                            My husband thinks it's a hoot that I check who's cooking before I decide if I'll have chicken or not.