Quick Info: Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen is a national restaurant franchise that specializes in various ‘Louisiana’ style dishes, specifically fried chicken. The restaurant opened their first Western New York location in December 2013 and people lost their sh*t. Customers waited in their drive-thu for over an hour to get their first taste of fried chicken. Luckily, that is no longer the case. The restaurant is open seven days a week until 11pm and there are no longer any lines.
Our Meal: After waiting nearly two years, we finally decided to stop by Popeye’s for a quick lunch because, why not. Contrary to what many may believe, we are not ‘local only’ snobs…at least not totally. We love Chipotle and Five Guys as much as the next person. On a chilly Saturday afternoon, Popeye’s had a decent crowd but our wait for food was less then three minutes. The restaurant actually works like a well-oiled machine and the food is cranked out quickly. The smell of fried chicken hits you right face as you walk through their front doors. The interior still looks new and is very clean. The wall of their ‘spice blend’ is a cute idea. They have a fancy Coke Freestyle machine for drinks and the menu is shown on large flat screen televisions.
We ordered a four piece chicken combo with a side of mac and cheese ($8.99) and their fried chicken sandwich po-boy combo with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy ($6.99). The four piece chicken combo came with four different pieces (drumstick, thigh, wing and breast) but two of the four had virtually no meat and were all breading. The larger pieces luckily had a decent amount of meat that was still juicy and decently flavorful. We ordered the chicken spicy and noticed a little heat in the meat and breading but still needed some hot sauce. The fried chicken po-boy was a little disappointing. Aside from some shredded lettuce, the ‘dressing’ was lacking and the roll was really flat and tasteless. The chicken strips themselves were good and Alli would probably order them again by themselves. The sides were actually better than expected. This isn’t artisanal mac and cheese or mashed potatoes & gravy, but both were creamy, warm and a nice compliment to the chicken.
Summary: Buffalo likes to get way too excited when new chain restaurants arrive in town. We get it, we were very excited for Five Guys and Chipotle too. But those restaurants came to Western New York a long time ago, when our local restaurant scene was not as exciting and diverse as it is now. Luckily for us all, in the two years since Popeye’s has opened, Toutant has blown away what locals thought Southern cuisine could taste like. It will cost a couple extra dollars, but I dare you to find better fried chicken in town than what Toutant offers. I wouldn’t dissuade someone from going to Popeye’s, it’s not that bad, but I’d never tell someone to goo out of their way to dine there.