A Review of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in GH

A Review of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in GH

Maxim Chalupa, Reporter

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen has been delighting hungry customers worldwide with their signature fried chicken. Over the course of 50 years, Popeyes has opened nearly 2,700 locations worldwide. Previously, for the people of Spring Lake and Grand Haven to enjoy a morsel of fried chicken goodness, they would have to make a grueling venture all the way into Norton Shores and back. This adds up to nearly an hour’s travel. While many would claim the comparable Oregon Trail-like experience is worth it, many more suffered with no easy access to the famed Popeyes chicken sandwich. But, no more shall we suffer, for only a few months ago Popeyes claimed the old Wendy’s location in Grand Haven and has opened a new location for the people. Seemingly unrivaled by other local restaurants in the fried chicken game, I have assembled an expert team of fried chicken professionals to put Popeyes to the test. Will they earn their title as the best local chicken, or will they be finger-lickin fakes? Time to find out.

After a swift drive to the Grand Haven location, Gram “Gribby” Gibson and I have ascertained the Popeyes. We paid $47.48 for: 16 tenders, 1 classic sandwich, and 1 “small” root beer. 5 tenders would have come out to about $14 total, so I think that the tenders themselves were overpriced. However, when put in the context of a normal meal, the price expectation is met fairly well. The interior of the store was clean, had pleasant decor, and smelled of fried chicken, as is expected with the chain. The ease of access was good. It was not hard to spot on the street. However, leaving the parking lot was more difficult. The drive was very steep, as we see in our own Front Porch ice cream parlor. I was very anxious about bottoming out my car. When combined with the fact that, as it is placed on a major road, most customers would have to leave the lot quickly to get on the road, making the odds of bottoming out higher. Overall, the location and design was very human and practical. 7/10.

Upon returning to the highschool shortly after, since we got our food very quickly for the quantity we purchased, we started our feast. A meal of epic proportions, it was time to judge Popeyes chicken. 

First of all, the tenders. According to the sample study, the tenders were light and airy, but still crunchy. A solid in between, cooked to golden perfection. The meat was soft, though lacking in flavor, but the ranch added the missing component. 7/10 without the ranch, but jumping up to a 8/10 including the ranch. 

Then, a beverage. Our drink of choice was rootbeer. Barq’s Root Beer was the provided brand. Popeyes was already on shaky ground with that choice. For any non-root beer drinker, Barq’s has the least consistent flavor, the majority of the time it has far more water than syrup and is similar to a bad coke-a-cola or pepsi. The rootbeer was ok. The flavor was lacking and didn’t match up to others, as expected. Only scoring an average of 4.75/10, the rootbeer left much to be desired.

Finally, the coup de grace, “The Classic”: Popeyes signature fried chicken sandwich. The sandwich, at first, had me skeptical. When I opened the bag I found a second, smaller insulation bag, like the one given for the sandwich at McDonald’s. This worried me because the standard McDonald’s sandwich is almost intolerable at its base. It lacks much flavor as is, honestly, a little sad. I tried to keep optimistic as I reached into my bag. I was losing hope when I saw the sandwich. At first glance I noticed it only came with mayo and pickles, the essential but most basic toppings for a chicken sandwich. After closer inspection, I saw that the sandwich actually had a good amount of both mayo and pickles, and that not only did the chicken have a good fry on the coating, but the meat was actually really thick. A common problem in these sandwiches is that the chicken breast is fairly small, so the meal isn’t very filling, but obviously this wasn’t going to be the case.

With my spirit rising, I went in for the first bite. The sandwich was easily able to provide all four components in a single bite. The first thing I noticed was the flavor of the chicken. It was tender and juicy, moist if you will. It had a great flavor and the fry was solid. It was, in fact, as big as I had previously thought. Then came the bread, mayo, and pickles. The mayo and pickles each had a good flavor and raised up the sandwich as a whole instead of beating down the other flavors. The second and third bites definitely came easily. 7/10, great job.

However, I wasn’t stopping there. I had brought with me a secret mousekatool to send the sandwich through the roof. Cajun Sparkle. This is Popeyes blend of cajun spices, perfect for mixing with ranch, gravy, and of course, topping a chicken sandwich. I simply ripped my packet and sprinkled it right onto the meat (however the best way to apply this is to remove the top bun and sprinkle it on its underside). I was not disappointed, the flavor was immaculate and was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. Easily a 9/10. Hands down one of the best chicken sammys I have ever had, maybe even better than Chick-fill-A. In terms of the point off, I only deducted that from the total because I didn’t have a second sandwich, however I have now since gone back for the sandwich, got a meal with fries and an apple pie, which kept that point off as even though the pie was nice, the fries were not fresh and just awful. I’ll have to do further study with a fresh batch.

In terms of the second visit, my sandwich quality was consistent. It had more coating, but this was no problem. As previously mentioned, I found a better way to apply the cajun sparkle. I also had another Barq’s and found it was far better than the first. This is likely because, while the first visit was within an hour of the store opening, the second visit was about five hours after opening, about 3 PM. My party and I ate inside the chain this time, hoping for a better idea of the inside experience. The biggest note I made was that it was fairly cold inside the restaurant. However, the cool neon light of a chicken playing a saxophone and the classic subway-core ingredient close-up panels on the walls warmed my insides. The seating was comfortable, though the table at our booth felt comfortably high. The dining room experience was, in total, solid and better than other experiences I’ve had.

So, in review, Popeyes was a solid chain. I was not disappointed with either of my visits overall. The portions were acceptable for the price and created a nice meal experience. I payed about the same for my meal as Micky D’s and marginally less than Chick-Filla, and I certainly enjoyed this more than a Mcdonalds sammy and, though the quality was equal to Chick-Filla in all except fries, I would choose Popeyes over them any day when I have to pay the bill. I highly recommend trying Popeyes in Grand Haven, and certainly don’t listen to any other chicken sandwich expert if they tell you to steer clear of them, because Popeyes is certifiable fire.