How Is Pollo Campero?
- Cosmo M
I've seen press for this fried chicken place and was wondering if anyone has tried it and if it's worth visiting.
It's alright, nothing to brag about. It originated in Guatemala and very big throughout Central America. I've tried it both here and in El Salvador, they don't compare. The Central American version is much tastier...they sell it at the airports and people bring back buckets on the plane that doesn't make for a pleasant flight unless you are the one eating it. I'd compare it to your regular supermarket deli fried chicken.
I don't know what you people are talking about saying it's not that good. Maybe you went on a bad day or something. I took a non-central american friend to one of the LA restaurants last Saturday, and he asked to go back the very next day because he liked it so much. There is absolutely no comparison to KFC, Popeye's or grocery store chicken. Campero has a very special flavor and the chicken is always juicy. Yes, it's a chain, but it's like the In-N-Out of fried chicken joints-- vastly superior to anything else out there.
It's definitely better than KFC, Popeye's or Church's, but would I go out of my way to wait? No.
I remember when they opened the first one, in La Curacao on Olympic. There was news footage of people lined up for BLOCKS to get in and have this chicken.
Then they opened one in the Panorama Mall, near my home, the first one in the Valley, and there were so many people that they had to have traffic enforcement to keep Van Nuys Boulevard open.
The lines have died down as more and more Pollo Camperos have opened (there's one at the Glendale Galleria), and so I've eaten there. I concur that the sides are pretty boring (but the beans are good).
I suppose it has In-N-Out tendencies -- if you grew up with it, it has the nostalgia thing, but if you didn't, it's just a better-than-average fast-food place. In-N-Out isn't the best burger in LA, and El Pollo Campero isn't the best chicken in LA.
Every time I go up to eat at Pollo Campero, though, I get distracted by El Gallo Giro... mmmmmmmm, the aguas frescas bar...