Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Uptown Is 'Muy Loco' For El Pollo Loco

By Lorraine Swanson, Editor, News-Star

After weeks of frenzied anticipation, not to mention the two guys wearing chicken suits beckoning passers-by to come try the flame-grilled chicken, El Pollo Loco, a national restaurant chain, opened a new franchise on the corner of Wilson and Sheridan March 3.

With more than 390 restaurants, El Pollo Loco, based in Costa Mesa, Calif. is famous on the West Coast for its signature, fresh, natural, citrus-marinated flame-grilled chicken served with warm tortillas and fresh salsas, according to the company's press release.

Judging by the long lines and packed dining area at the new restaurant last Friday evening, Uptown residents are "muy loco" for the "crazy chicken."

"It has been packed since we've opened. So far it has been a success," said Sergio Miranda, El Pollo Loco's general manager. "People like the chicken (mascot). They're not used to seeing a chicken in the streets."

In a neighborhood where residents say there are too many empty storefronts and too few dining options east of Lawrence Avenue, the first sign that something monumental was afoot was a Feb. 24 announcement posted on the neighborhood "Uptown Update" blog informing visitors that Uptown was about to get even crazier than it already is.
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  1. "The post garnered 23 comments, ranging from excitement over El Pollo Loco's "healthful, delicious fast food options" to the controversial Labor Ready day labor office and whether chickens could be raised organically beneath the el tracks until something is actually built in Wilson Yard.

    But if the people crowding at the Crazy Chicken last Friday were thinking about the non-existent Target or 46th Ward Alderman Helen Shiller's major legislative effort in 2007-a ban on raising chickens within Chicago city limits-they certainly weren't acting like it."

    God I love you Lorraine!

  2. That article made me smile.

    Would love to see Shiller's face as she reads it :)

  3. Fun story. I need to get off my arse and subscribe. To paraphrase Toqueville, community papers rock.

    Anyway, I hope there is a follow-up story about the people that were hired at El Pollo Loco, if they reside in Uptown...what kinds of benefits the company offers and what options for advancement or skill development. I am crossing my fingers that it is good news.

  4. This was hilarious. Could you imagine if the Trib or Sun-Times started doing this kind of reporting. Their financial woes would be over.

  5. I enjoyed that two of the chicken fans were named Tyson. ;-)

  6. We ate here last friday, and we are still sick!
    It is great to see new stores, but MAN my stomach still hurts!

  7. How do you go "east of Lawrence Ave"?