The New Popeyes

I finally made it down to the brand new Popeyes I reported about on Fat Tuesday.  If you hadn’t heard, Popeyes is back in Midtown with a location on 40th btw. 7th & 8th Ave.  I ate there on Friday, and felt pretty disgusting the rest of the day.  But you know what?  It was worth it.  Sure in retrospect the third piece of chicken and second biscuit may have been overkill… but hindsight is twenty twenty.  Popeyes is awesome. 

Like fried chicken, alot is written about great hamburgers in New York City.  People argue all the time over who makes the best burger in the city.  Shake Shack and Burger Joint are always on the list, and new places seem to open up every week.  Then of course there are the expensive burgers, with truffles and foie gras and the such.  In the end, a $3 Big Mac tastes good, but it’s no competition for a real burger, made with quality beef.

Fried chicken is a whole different ball game.  I don’t care what kind of prejudice you have against fast food places, I’m telling you, Popeyes is frickin good.  If you want delicious fried chicken, you will be hard pressed to find some that tastes better than the spicy chicken at Popeyes.  Sure, your extra money might buy you better side dishes, a fancier atmosphere and organic chickens that were treated very nicely before they were dipped in batter and fried up crispy… but in the end, when you are just talking about taste- Popeyes can hold its own with the best of them.

Pictures and a +/- after the jump…

Alot of people don’t know this, but in many parts of the country (like New Orleans), Popeyes is an institution.  For those of us who grew up in the North East, or in my case- Miami (New York South) Popeyes was always thought of as the second rate chicken place.  New ones never opened,  so the franchises that did exist, were always old and in crappy locations, totally dilapidated, and they didn’t have popcorn chicken!  (I always went to KFC.)  In New Orleans, Popeyes is like Starbucks.  Everybody eats there, and most of the locations are suprisingly well kept.  And if there is one thing I’ve learned about New Orleans- they know their fried food.

Like most fast food fried chicken places Popeyes has two versions of their chicken (regular and spicy), chicken sandwiches, boneless strips, a few seafood dishes, an assortment of side dishes and of course- biscuits.  I went with the three piece meal (or as I like to call it, the “Fat Guy” special) with Cajun Rice and a biscuit.  The breast was a tiny bit dry (as breasts can be), but the spicy crunchy crust that covered the whole thing, made up for that.  The cajun rice was fine (meat filled dirty rice), and the biscuit of course was delicious.  You may say the “secret ingredient” is lard.

My co-workers got the boneless chicken strips, and the fried chicken sandwich- both of which came with a totally different crust than the fried chicken.  Very curious.  It was a lighter color than the fried chicken crust, and isn’t spicy- but I believe you can get a spicy version.  Both were good, but nothing special.  The spicy fried chicken is what makes Popeyes worth going to.

With a new location of a fast food place, you are always going to have some service issues- and this one was no different.  They have plenty of cashiers, so the lines move pretty quick, but it took about 15 minutes for the order of chicken strips to come out (I guess they didn’t have any ready)… but they fully made up for it by giving us some free chicken and biscuits for having to wait.  What I didn’t realize was that, extra chicken and biscuits is more of a curse, (especially when you are stupid enough to look up the nutritional information online after you eat).  I don’t know what is wrong with me.

Lucky for Popeyes, I didn’t notice any of these service problems, because I was too busy getting pissed at these three people for stealing the table I had been waiting 10 minutes for.  (They hadn’t even ordered their food yet, and didn’t seem to care when I told them I had been waiting 10 minutes for the table.  Fun fun.  I guess I was supposed to stand directly on top of the lady who was finishing her lunch, so I could sit down at the first possible second she was done…) And that is other the problem with the new location… seating.  There are only 5 or 6 tables, and they were all full (despite it being the first week open).  The manager informed me that they have the maximum number of tables allowed for a restaurant that does not have a bathroom for customers.  So, unfortunately you need to be prepared to take your food to go- a huge bummer if it’s cold out, and you have a long way to walk.

All in all, it’s a great re-addition to Midtown (there were a few Popeyes that existed over a year ago but are now gone).  Popeyes is delicious fried chicken…. but whatever you do, don’t eat the second biscuit (or a third piece of fried chicken) (or look at the nutrional information).

THE +

  • Delicious, spicy, and crispy fried chicken
  • Awesome biscuits
  • Cajun flavored sides like Red Beans & Rice, & Dirty Rice
  • It’s fast food, so it’s cheap

THE -

  • They have regular fried chicken, but it’s the “spicy” chicken that sets Popeyes apart from the rest (so if you don’t like spicy, you may not be into it- although it’s not that spicy)
  • The biscuits are made with lard
  • Everything is super greasy (including the biscuits made from lard)
  • You may not feel so great after lunch
  • The nutritional information is bad
  • There aren’t alot of seats at the location, so you may have to take your food to go… something you’d like to avoid with a food like fried chicken
  • Service may be spotty

Popeyes, 240 W. 40th St. (btw. 7+8th)

13 Comments

  • Personally, I think the best thing about Popeye’s is the red beans & rice side. It’s worth the trip just for that alone: cramy & spicy & filling! If you ask, you can usually substitute any of the sides for the fries with the boneless strips meal.

  • I vote for ‘cramy’ as best new adjective of ’07. It fits as a word to describe the kind of food that will clog your arteries, but you wanna ‘cram’ as much of it in before your conscience kicks your ass.

  • LOL @ the above comment…

    God, Popeye’s is good stuff (I like the regular but it’s still yummy). I love all of it! I think all the biscuits at fried chicken joints are made with lard? I refuse to eat KFC biscuits, these I might eat a bit of here or there, but the absolute BESTEST biscuits- and you have to LOOK for these places- is Church’s chicken. YUMMY. The White Castle I used to go to had a Church’s connected and I’d order the biscuits with my gross WC meal too. Hahahahah, gross. I stand by the mashed with that chorizo/andouille gravy… ugh… so good. Yummy.

    Oh, and the only good other fried chicken I’ve had not at a dive place (I don’t really order fried chicken ‘cept from fast food places…) – Blue Ribbon. They made this fried chicken that was crispy, delicious, juicy, moist, and the key difference for me was… it wasn’t greasy. I don’t know how they did it. But not only were you not drenching napkins with grease while you ate, you didn’t feel gross, greasy, bloated afterwards (and it really wasn’t that expensive although for what it is, or compared to Popeye’s sure it was expensive). They served it with molasses/syrup too. Yummm!

     

    Good call on the Blue Ribbon fried chicken.  I had it at Blue Ribbon Bakery and it is pretty good (but as you mentioned, expensive!)… -Zach

  • I will have mostly Popeyes to thank for my future clogged arteries. I’ve had an unhealthy addiction to their chicken and biscuits since my high school days. I’m glad they opened another location in the neighborhood, since I find the one on 34th a bit below standard (although their 2 piece and biscuit for $2.49 keeps me coming back again and again).

  • I beg to differ your categorization of Biscuits with Lard as a minus! Lard makes everything taste better! I’ve really enjoyed the iconic Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in LA and Amy Ruth’s in Harlem as well. Blue Ribbon is good, but as noted, a bit pricey. The place I had the highest expectations for, but was totally disappointed in was Dirty Bird To Go.

  • Does anyone know if they also fry their chicken with lard? Also, which other chain also used lard in their biscuits or other foods? Thanks

  • You gotta try popeyes biscuits with a side of their gravy, the kind they put on the mashed potatoes. it’s not listed as a side but it’s available for the same prices as the other sides. many times my mom just gets a sixer of biscuits and a large side of gravy. yum yum! the best fast food biscuits and gravy ever!

  • I don’t care if Popeyes is a chain and technically fast food (nevermind that your order doesn’t come out particularly fast), it’s good food. While their fried chicken is the obvious choice, their chicken deluxe sandwich is also not to be missed. Great spicy mayo sauce on there, and the bread is not just a stale, starchy white roll. Sure it’s “junk food” or whatever, but this stuff is still clearly a cut above your McDonalds and Burger Kings. Highly recommended.

  • When the grease hits your lips it just tastes soooo good!

  • the best thing about this Popeye’s is that they DELIVER!!!! and not if you order over $10 like most places but if you order over $5, which is SUCH a deal. they might be a little slow but at least you don’t have to walk that far! I heart Popeye’s.

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