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Apr 2, 2009 02:18 PM

New Chicken Place in Chelsea

Yesterday, I was cutting through Chelsea and there was a traffic jam complete with police details trying to help out because it looked like there was a new restaurant opening that attracted lots of people. I remember the word Pollo in it's name. It's a free standing building where a roast beef place use to be a few blocks from the bridge that goes to East Boston. There was a line of about 60+ people waiting to get in. The line came out the door and snaked down the street. Any info?

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  1. El Pollo Loco, probably. A So-Cal-based chain of pretty decent citrus-marinated chicken.

    Used to frequent them during my Los Angeles college days.

    1. Pollo Campero a central american phenomenon, if you look in the Spring 09 Openings there is more info. The local franchise is related to the folks running Qdoba. I guess they were right that they were opening in April and thanks for posting this :-)

      4 Replies
      1. re: itaunas

        A central american phenomenon that's related to Qdoba? Kinda like Daniel Boulud teaming-up with KFC.

        Weird, but I'll try it.

        1. re: Bostonbob3

          I've been to the location in Jackson Heights and it is certainly Qdoba-esque in its cold corporateness. I thought the chicken was OK, certainly nothing significantly better than the other latin chicken options we've got right now.

          1. re: Bostonbob3

            No the ownership of the rights to the local franchise is the same group with Qdoba franchises. The parent company is of Guatemalan origin, but the chain is probably strongest in El Salvador. Its been a common sight for folks coming back from El Salvador to bring Pollo Campero chicken on the flights, this is how I have eaten it on a couple of occasions and the chicken there was slightly different than what I was served in the McLean Virginia location. From what I recall the chicken served in the US is prepared centrally by the US corporation, probably partially cooked, and shipped frozen to the stores where its finished. Not too different from other chains. If you want more information or background, there is plenty written about Campero in English and Spanish on the net.

            There are a couple of local Guatemalan and Salvadoran restaurants doing Campero style chicken (we have posts about this going back several years). The most recent was when Tapatio in Somerville reopened, which I still haven't gotten around to trying, but in speaking with someone about their chicken I found out the Pollo Campero was opening.

            Campero does have some limited parking, but that area is prone to traffic snarls. Decent bus service from East Boston/Revere/Everett/Haymarket, about a half-mile walk from the Chelsea commuter rail stop. A lot of hounds already check out nearby Katz's if you get there during their hours, but John's Pizza is worth checking out and the nearby El Chalan does pollos en la brasa (charcoal roasted) for a good comparision between south and central american chicken.

            1. re: itaunas

              "The parent company is of Guatemalan origin, but the chain is probably strongest in El Salvador"

              Thats a silly comment. Have you ever been to Guatemala? Theres a Pollo Campero every 3-4 blocks in the city and at least 2 in every major city in Guatemala. And, Guatemala being like 3 times bigger in size, no way could the presence of Pollo Campero be stonger in El Salvador.

              As stated in the company's mission statement, Pollo Campero is one of the biggest latin food chain in the world (though they arent really a world wide company like McDonalds, B.K, and etc).

              I have been to the new facility in Chelsea and it has been crazy, maybe they SHOULD recall themselves the real "pollo loco". I drove by saturday while it was raining and people were standing there like nothing, sunday which was the better day of the 2 was just plain insane. The drive-through line was all the way to the first set of lights after you cross the bridge from east boston into chelsea and the walk-in line was curved onto the side street. I heard that sunday there was a 3-4 hours waiting time.
              The next site for a pollo campero will be east boston, though in the spanish newspaper "El Mundo" hinted the possibility of having one in lynn as well.

        2. I drove by the place last weekend and it looked just about ready to open. Glad to hear it's open and attracting some crowds.

          Here's a link with a bit more info on the place:

          1 Reply
          1. re: hiddenboston

            There was a traffic jam for a few blocks from the opening. I'm waiting a few weeks before I try it.

          2. I think it's in the old Riley's Roast Beef location next to Katz Bagel Bakery. The address is 115 Park Street Chelsea. Hopefully I can try it when it's not crowded. I'm always looking for a good fried chicken place.

            4 Replies
            1. re: buffet king

              That's exactly where it is. I drove by it on my way to Katz's last weekend.

              1. re: buffet king

                It's not fried, it's like "a la brasa" style marinated/roasted. You can get some maduros and yuca and stuff to go with it, and there are various salsas and horchata too.

                1. re: buffet king

                  I tried to go by today, but there were still lines out the door (tents so you didn't get wet) and couldn't stay. Incidentally I also noticed Royal Fried Chicken in Dorchester (haven't been by there in ages) offering their chicken (not a full franchise). As Luther says its not breaded fried chicken (although I think they are offering a battered extra-crunchy style, some rotisserie style offerings, sandwiches elsewhere, experimenting with things or more american flavors, but KFC doesn't have beans tostones, horchata...), there is the marinating and some kind of broasting process -- one of those industrial processes, but part of the process was frying. I definitely wouldn't consider it "a la brasa" though... the local restaurants are basic fried though.

                  1. re: itaunas

                    Oh yeah, right, it's kind of greasy but not battered.

                2. We were in Chelsea last night and drove past Pollo Campero at around 9:45. The line was crazy--must have been 30 to 40 people there. And police everywhere as well, directing traffic. I think I'll wait for the hype to die down before checking it out.