I’d been hankering to give Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen a whirl ever since they opened their first BC location in PoCo this past winter, and now that the US-based fast food giant has a Surrey location in the Sullivan Heights area my greasy-handed prayers have been answered.
Located at 144th and 64th in one of those little square strip malls that dot the Surrey landscape, this 50-seater sports a drive-thru as well, and if the current dine-in crowds are any indicator that may be your best bet. We were dining there for well over an hour during the dinner period and the lineup was all the way to the front door the entire time.
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen had ample staff on hand to deal with the crunch, buzzing around each other in a tightly choreographed hive of activity to the strains of 94.5 Virgin Radio (struck us as an odd choice to play ad-filled FM radio which was piped in rather loudly) while still maintaining a friendly and calm demeanor towards the guests. The menu has a lot of options, but given the time spent waiting in line we had made informed choices by the time we got to the till. All in all it was about a twenty minute wait from the time we entered until our meals were served, not bad for chicken that has been marinated for 12 hours and is battered and floured every ten minutes. And when the food arrived, GUESS WHAT??
CHICKEN BUTT! Craig got a 5 piece chicken Tenders combo ($11.69) which are breaded strips of all-white chicken slathered in crispy batter and deep fried to greasy golden perfection. The chicken itself was moist and fresh, nothing mind blowing but it was definitely done right.
You get a choice of two free dipping sauces with the strips ($.30 each regular price) and he chose Sweet Heat and Bay Buffalo sauce. You can also grab packets of Louisiana hot sauce for free up front at the counter so we filled our boots. The Buffalo was exactly what you’d expect, no frills here, but the generic-looking Louisiana was the clear winner of the two with its extra vinegary palate-punch and slightly boozy finish. Sweet Heat was fairly mild but delivered a small hit of scotch bonnet pepper that we both savoured.
The Red beans and rice he chose for a side wasn’t much to look at but hoo boy don’t judge a book by its cover! The smokey flavour of the beans belied its fast-food origins, only pity was there wasn’t more of the beans and rice to go around…GUESS WHY?!
CHICKEN THIGH!! I ordered the 3 piece Chicken combo ($10.69) which included a couple drumsticks and yes, a thigh. Had I known I would have asked for a chicken breast; apparently it’s free of charge to order mixed when you get a few pieces together but the default is all dark meat if you don’t specify.
The combos here come with a biscuit which is pretty darned famous, and for good reason. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen was formerly known as Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits, so they know their biscuits and if that ain’t a fact then God’s a possum. Popeyes biscuits are delectably fluffy and buttery with just the right amount of heft to them. Didn’t even need to add butter.
I chose Cajun fries for the side and they were legit, kind of limp and moist rather than crispy and crunchy but I like that style so it suited me fine. YMMV. The flavour wasn’t that bold, so I found myself dipping them in the Blackened Ranch sauce I ordered on the side (along with the 3 piece Tenders they threw in for free! Not sure if that was a happy accident or if it was to make up for the wait, but hey, I’ll take it).
Popeyes’ chicken itself was quite similar to KFC in my opinion, I’d like to try a side-by-side comparison and pick a winner. I ordered one piece of spicy which I’d have to cop out again and compare to KFC. Not so spicy that the kiddies wouldn’t be able to handle it, put it that way. I heard Popeyes chicken really shines eaten cold as leftovers but alas I was in after-work hangry mode and gobbled up everything including the bonus Tenders and a good portion of Craig’s sides and sauces. Sorry bruh! While we’re talking of tablemates, GUESS WHO?!?
No it’s not chicken poo, that’s just gross. It’s Popeyes silly, that’s who we’ve been talking about this entire review… In this case it’s Popeyes’ Cajun gravy ($1.49), a wicked concoction of bell pepper, celery, onion, and what else, CHICKEN! Yup dawg, you can dip your chicken in some chicken so you can eat your chicken while you eat your chicken. No spinach for this Popeyes thank-you-very-much, just chicken on chicken on chicken. Needless to say, it was fun dipping anything and everything in this voodoo brew. Overall I found Popeyes to have a lot more flavour than your average fast food joint, but with the same low price and convenience.
Well that’s all for this Surrey restaurant review, but stay tuned because Mary Brown’s Chicken and Taters is opening a competing chicken shack location nearby so you can bet we’ll be bringing you the lowdown on the upcoming Chicken Wars.