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For quick take out fried ckn in Berkeley - TC or Popeyes?

Sarah Apr 16, 2012 08:29 PM

Both are on San Pablo, but considering convenience and taste (never had TC's) - which would you go for?

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  1. Glencora RE: Sarah Apr 16, 2012 08:45 PM

    what's TC's?

    1. r
      rubadubgdub RE: Sarah Apr 16, 2012 08:46 PM

      Serendipity strikes! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844533

      1 Reply
      1. re: rubadubgdub
        Glencora RE: rubadubgdub Apr 16, 2012 08:52 PM

        Yes, I saw that two seconds after I posted. Looks interesting.

      2. e
        ernie in berkeley RE: Sarah Apr 17, 2012 02:12 PM

        Since it's tax day and the post office is right there, I decided to do a comparison. I had a thigh and a leg at both places.

        TC: The striking thing here is that there doesn't seem to be much immediately available. There were only a few pieces of chicken under heat lamps. I don't know whether they'd have to cook a big order from scratch (also the fish and shrimp; there were none in the case). As it was, this chicken was acceptable, with a thin coating, possibly flour and not batter. It had a nice spicy bite, and wasn't particularly greasy, but the seasoning tasted, well, generic.

        Popeyes: I chose the spicy variety for comparison. It was markedly spicier than TCs, but the batter coating was thicker. I prefer less coating, myself. The chicken was much hotter, probably due to the higher turnaround, and was just a touch greasy. I preferred the seasoning here.

        So, I'd say it was a toss-up. I'd like to try the freshly-fried chicken at TCs sometime; this would be a better comparison. If you do need to hang around while they fry, you have to factor in the Berkeley parking meter fees, about an extra dollar or so. Popeye's has a parking lot. The bill at TC was $3.40, and since Popeye's has a Tuesday two-piece special, it was $1.40 there. I didn't compare other prices.

        8 Replies
        1. re: ernie in berkeley
          Melanie Wong RE: ernie in berkeley Apr 17, 2012 02:31 PM

          ernie, you're a rock star. That's one thing about Popeye's, it's got a lot of seasoning.

          Here's a long-ago discussion about Popeye's with a former manager that might be of interest.

          1. re: ernie in berkeley
            rubadubgdub RE: ernie in berkeley Apr 17, 2012 03:08 PM

            So good of you to eat in the name of public service. I've had plenty of Popeye's in my past but not recently. I did ask the person at TC's if they use MSG in their seasoning and they said no, so I did like that about their chicken. Often the heightened flavoring of chain food comes from additives that I don't really want to know about. My pieces also came from under the heat lamp, so I had my doubts, but they were really good (esp the breast that was perfectly cooked). I don't think they're aiming to be as fast as Popeye's (it took them 4 mins to cook my fries to order) but there's something to be said for that too.

            1. re: rubadubgdub
              wolfe RE: rubadubgdub Apr 17, 2012 03:14 PM

              Mine took much longer due to previous orders but damn that was a tasty juicy wing which unlike other fast food places actually had meat on it. The young lady also threw in an extra, fresh from the oven, biscuit.

            2. re: ernie in berkeley
              Sarah RE: ernie in berkeley Apr 17, 2012 03:34 PM

              Thank you for the thorough report -- sounds as if you really can't go wrong with either -- except I'm pretty addicted to Popeye's rb&r!. I'll also do a side by side comparison next time I'm in Berkeley.
              How are those donuts?

              1. re: Sarah
                rubadubgdub RE: Sarah Apr 17, 2012 03:59 PM

                I do love donuts and fried chicken together (Dream Fluff on Ashby was my guilty pleasure until they stopped making chicken, why oh why). However, both times I was there in the afternoon and we know what happens to donuts as they age. Nonetheless, as I waffled about whether to get any donuts, the young woman who took my order threw in 3 donut holes for free (a treat, but not as fresh as they could be). FWIW rice & beans are a possible side at TC but I haven't had it.

              2. re: ernie in berkeley
                chocolatetartguy RE: ernie in berkeley Apr 17, 2012 03:54 PM

                Speaking as one who lives 2 blocks from that Popeye's and has gone there way more than any other restaurant in the hood (including last week), I would say to try T.C.'s. Next time I get that fc jones, that's where I'm headed. I have finally tired of Popeye's after six years of overindulgence, although I like the crunch of their breading and the juicyness when it is fresh. To me it is somewhat over spiced/salted. Still like the shrimp poboy though and some years they have a good crawfish etouffee.

                1. re: ernie in berkeley
                  ML8000 RE: ernie in berkeley Apr 17, 2012 04:30 PM

                  The Tuesday deal at Popeye's is very hard to beat.

                  1. re: ML8000
                    chocolatetartguy RE: ML8000 Apr 17, 2012 05:41 PM

                    So true. The only day I order chicken is on Tuesdays! The mac and cheese is not bad either. I just heated some up last night with some nubbins of Piave and it was damn good.

                2. arktos RE: Sarah Apr 17, 2012 03:54 PM

                  The Po' Boy at Popeyes is suprisingly good. Due to the batter, the shrimp can be a little hard to chew, but at $3.99(I believe), it's a steal. And yes, 4 pieces of chicken for $2.80 on Tuesdays.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: arktos
                    PommeDeGuerre RE: arktos Apr 18, 2012 12:25 AM

                    Why is the $0.99 Tuesday special $1.20 after tax (I am assuming) in SF? It's $1.08 in L.A. Is sales tax that high there?

                    1. re: PommeDeGuerre
                      eethan RE: PommeDeGuerre Apr 18, 2012 06:57 AM

                      Off the top of my head, tax is nine-something percent, but there is an additional service charge in SF for workers' health care.


                      1. re: PommeDeGuerre
                        ML8000 RE: PommeDeGuerre Apr 18, 2012 10:26 AM

                        They charge $1.29 in the Bay Area instead of .99¢, plus .10¢ for tax.

                        1. re: ML8000
                          chocolatetartguy RE: ML8000 Apr 18, 2012 12:08 PM

                          It used to be 99 cents in Berkeley, but at $1.29 it's a bargain for a leg and thigh. It sounds like the price may be at the discretion of the individual operator. The sweet tea is good too.

                    2. ChowFun_derek RE: Sarah Apr 19, 2012 11:57 AM

                      THE QUESTION WAS ASKED BUT UNANSWERED!...What is TC's??? and if abbreviations are to be used then "P" should be used instead of "Popeyes".....then we can do a comparison of "P's" and "TC's"...!!

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: ChowFun_derek
                        chocolatetartguy RE: ChowFun_derek Apr 19, 2012 12:24 PM

                        TC's is the name that the business uses. It used to be just Rainbow Donuts.

                        What are their hours? They were closed last night when I went by at 9.

                        1. re: chocolatetartguy
                          ChowFun_derek RE: chocolatetartguy Apr 19, 2012 12:56 PM

                          Thanks, is it a fast food place like Popeyes? if not perhaps the comparison could be between "P's" and Churchills!? anyone compare the 2 of those?

                          1. re: ChowFun_derek
                            chocolatetartguy RE: ChowFun_derek Apr 19, 2012 01:15 PM

                            It's a non-chain fast food joint. It was originally compared to P (Popeye's) because both are on San Pablo Ave in Berkeley within 2.5 blocks of each other. Churches is a little further down San Pablo (near/past Gilman?) across from the McDonald's.

                            It was originally a doughnut shop and I guess they decided to use the fryers for other foods.

                            1. re: chocolatetartguy
                              majordanby RE: chocolatetartguy Apr 19, 2012 01:38 PM

                              and what's your take on church's? ive never had it before, but am always tempted whenever i bike by it.

                              1. re: majordanby
                                sydthekyd RE: majordanby Apr 19, 2012 03:56 PM

                                Not bad - worth trying.

                                1. re: majordanby
                                  chocolatetartguy RE: majordanby Apr 19, 2012 03:58 PM

                                  Haven't been to the one I mentioned. In fact I don't ever remember having gone to Church's except one in Oakland in 1980.

                                  I was a KFC man and then Popeye's. Don't diss me but my favorite EB fried chicken is from the Hometown Buffet in Pinole. However, it isn't very good cold. They have a thick, crispy batter and the skin on top of the thigh comes off whole like a big potato chip. Have not tried a lot of the recommended local spots. I order other things at places like Dorsey's and Little Skillet.

                                  I just called TC's and they close at 8. The woman to whom I spoke barely spoke English which leads me to believe that the ownership is the same, the menu new.

                                  1. re: chocolatetartguy
                                    rubadubgdub RE: chocolatetartguy Apr 19, 2012 04:02 PM

                                    I can't speak to the ownership, but on both my visits the people behind the counter were predominantly English-speaking. The flavor of Church's is salty.

                                    1. re: chocolatetartguy
                                      ML8000 RE: chocolatetartguy Apr 19, 2012 05:08 PM

                                      My 86 y.o. Dad likes Hometown Buffet. It must be the depression era upbringing. Any way, agree the FC at Hometown Buffet is one of only consistently decent things there.

                            2. re: ChowFun_derek
                              rubadubgdub RE: ChowFun_derek Apr 19, 2012 12:57 PM

                              TC Fried Chicken & Fish

                              1. re: ChowFun_derek
                                Melanie Wong RE: ChowFun_derek Apr 19, 2012 12:58 PM

                                The second reply to this thread is a link to this report on TC,

                                1. re: ChowFun_derek
                                  toodie jane RE: ChowFun_derek Apr 19, 2012 05:13 PM

                                  Ha! and here I was assuming "The Coronel's"...(and wondering why there was a discussion amoungst bay area chowhounds about chain fried chicken joints)

                                2. Glencora RE: Sarah Apr 19, 2012 02:35 PM

                                  There's a menu for TC's in Toot Sweets and the bakery has started carrying donuts.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Glencora
                                    rubadubgdub RE: Glencora Apr 19, 2012 04:11 PM

                                    Rainbow Donuts has been around for some time, at least 5-8 years, if not more. They used to have very fresh, good donuts, but I haven't sampled them recently. The donuts aren't new but the fried chix & fish are. It's like two shops in one.

                                    1. re: rubadubgdub
                                      Glencora RE: rubadubgdub May 9, 2012 08:53 AM

                                      Maybe I was unclear -- or you were dense :) -- I meant that Toot Sweets now carries Rainbow Donuts. I just noticed a new awning advertising donuts a couple days ago and a quick peek inside verified this. I used to like Toot Sweets' bear claws, but haven't had them in years. Not sure how much of the old stuff they carry.

                                      1. re: Glencora
                                        rubadubgdub RE: Glencora May 9, 2012 10:39 AM

                                        I never would have put 2+ 2 together, bc I didn't know that Rainbow was a brand of donuts! In fact, I finally tried some donuts at Rainbow and they're different from before (the change in ownership?). They are very much like the donuts (same flavors, kinds, etc.) at Dream Fluff (another standby) which leads me to believe that they're not making them inhouse and that everyone is getting them from a central donut kingpin.

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