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El Pollo Rico - Famous Peruvian Chicken House Purchased and Undergoing Expansion


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Because I basically skipped lunch on Friday, three of us managed to finish two whole chickens at the Arlington location for a pre-movie dinner. Fries and cole slaw were kinda meh.

I used to be partial to Super Chicken but am now an EPR convert. Ideal spice level in the meat and top-notch dipping sauces. Dark meat was perfect, white meat only slightly less so.

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There's a new strip center being built on Univ Blvd in Wheaton, where the Anchor Inn used to be. I saw a sign that El Pollo Rico will be relocating there. (As well as two other places that I can't recall right now. One of them may have been a Filipino Bistro)

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I went to there today and it was packed! The new location is bigger and more airy and nice. I think they raised the prices since I'd been there last (but then I haven't been over there in over a year) it was 14.85 for a whole chicken, 7.75 for a half and 5.80 for a quarter. The chicken was still delicious as I remembered, flavorful, crispy and addictive and fries and coleslaw where decent but not earthshattering.

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El Pollo Rico has never had anything more than adequate fries and slaw. Yes, they have excellent, even superb chicken but the sides overall are a real detraction. I sincerely believe that if a Don Pollo opened alongside of an El Pollo Rico it would do more business. I was at the old Wheaton location twice and have been to Clarendon three or four times. Every single time I've left with mixed feelings about the place. I should note that I've been to the Crisp and Juicy on Lee Highway 20 or 30 times and will not hesitate to drive from Reston to Bethesda to try Don Pollo again. Both of Don Pollo's dipping sauces are outstanding along with excellent potato salad and very good black beans and rice. "Chicken to chicken" I continue to believe that the Lee Highway Crisp and Juicy is the best of all the Peruvian chicken joints in the D. C. area.

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El Pollo Rico has never had anything more than adequate fries and slaw. Yes, they have excellent, even superb chicken but the sides overall are a real detraction. I sincerely believe that if a Don Pollo opened alongside of an El Pollo Rico it would do more business. I was at the old Wheaton location twice and have been to Clarendon three or four times. Every single time I've left with mixed feelings about the place. I should note that I've been to the Crisp and Juicy on Lee Highway 20 or 30 times and will not hesitate to drive from Reston to Bethesda to try Don Pollo again. Both of Don Pollo's dipping sauces are outstanding along with excellent potato salad and very good black beans and rice. "Chicken to chicken" I continue to believe that the Lee Highway Crisp and Juicy is the best of all the Peruvian chicken joints in the D. C. area.

We live within walking distance of the Lee Hwy Crisp and Juicy but still drive to get chicken from El Pollo Rico. The chicken at the Crisp and Juicy is just not as flavorful. Granted, we had two mediocre experiences and have not gone back.

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El Pollo Rico has never had anything more than adequate fries and slaw. Yes, they have excellent, even superb chicken but the sides overall are a real detraction.

Not really a secret: they will substitute an extra order of fries for the slaw. Yes, the fries some days are eh, but some days they are really good, and I've never met a slaw I liked. So two orders of fries it is.

I usually like the sides more at Super Chicken (mmm, fried yucca!), but overall I prefer EPR.

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We live within walking distance of the Lee Hwy Crisp and Juicy but still drive to get chicken from El Pollo Rico. The chicken at the Crisp and Juicy is just not as flavorful. Granted, we had two mediocre experiences and have not gone back.

Do you have them pull it directly from the spit and then chop it in front of you? Do you also eat it at a table in the store immediately? Several of us have bought from both Crisp and Juicy and El Pollo Rico and sat in our cars half way between the two comparing them-they are not that far apart. It's been a while but Crisp and Juicy were our favorite. Both chickens were as fresh as could be purchased.

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I always order coleslaw and fries becuase I feel weird just ordering the chicken, I am a fan of eating side dishes, I guess.

I've never had Peruvian Chicken anywhere other than Chicken on The Run, which is a pretty decent sort of place, the chicken is good but not as amazing as EPR, but they have better side dishes, IMO their yuca and plantians are more than an afterthought.\

I can affirm that you need to eat the chicken hot off the rotisserie, it's not as as good later.

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Stopped in to the Wheaton location for dinner tonight, my first visit since they moved. The chicken was better than I remembered it, and still easily the best pollo a la brasa of the many different options in Wheaton. Fries were good and crispy, and the cole slaw was the cole slaw.

One thing that I did find somewhat weird, though, was that their menu was displayed on an HDTV monitor on the wall. Quite different from the old hole-in-the-wall location I can remember going to growing up.......

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A quick Web search shows a mysterious presence of El Pollo Rico in Brookfield Plaza in Springfield. I know Brookfield Plaza like the back of my hand, and there's no El Pollo Rico there. Is it a past location or maybe a future location...?

Their web site doesn't say anything about a Springfield location.

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Their web site doesn't say anything about a Springfield location.

The title of this thread includes Springfield, and a search of "El Pollo Rico Springfield" reveals an address at 7031 Brookfield Plaza, and a phone number that doesn't have El Pollo Rico at the other end. I suspect it is closed...? That would be surprising, because other Peruvian restaurants are thriving in and around Springfield.

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Hit the El Pollo Rico location in Wheaton this weekend. This is my first trip back after they moved to their current location (I know, the horror!). The chicken here is my standard for what this style of chicken should be. Given that I have recently heard that Que Rico in Owings Mills, MD is now gone (unconfirmed!), this is my only gold standard.

Their chicken has the best flavor of spices and they know how to make sure there's enough salt in the rub. The skin is superbly crispy. And, while their 'white meat' is good, even very good, the dark meat steals the show here time and again. The sides are OK. The cole slaw is average. The fries are good, but I prefer a thinner, crispier fry myself. Their 'green' sauce is really just jalapenos and not much more if anything. Their mild sauce is really, really good, though, particularly with their fries.

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I guess I'll be the contrarian here. I tried the Wheaton location of EPR today for lunch. No crowd, In and out in minutes. I took the food home but I live less than a 2 min drive away so that should factor into things. I got the half chicken with fries, cole slaw, tortillas, and extra hot sauce.

I just don't get it. What flavour? The bland spice mix that got burned onto the skin? The almost inedible dry white meat that had zero juices? The hot sauce that tasted like a simple puree of jalapenos, vinegar, and water? The tasteless and limp fries? The cole slaw and the dark meat were the only edible portions of my meal. Even so, the cole slaw wasn't as good as anything the Colonel sells you and the best thing I can say about the dark meat is that it's competes on even ground with rotisserie chicken from Giant.

Bleh! I want my $8.75 back. I want those 1000 calories back (oh, lord...will it really take over an hour and a half going full tilt on the elliptical to burn that crap off?).

Nando's Peri Peri is still the best restaurant chicken out there. Otherwise, I'll save my money and calories for chicken cooked (properly) at home.

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I guess I'll be the contrarian here.

Not contrarian to me - I've never understood people's love for El Pollo Rico. I like it well enough (the chicken, not the lousy fries, lousy cole slaw, or lousy sauces), but to say it's overrated is an understatement.

Nando's Peri Peri is still the best restaurant chicken out there.

I was with you until this sentence. :rolleyes:

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I guess I'll be the contrarian here. I tried the Wheaton location of EPR today for lunch. No crowd, In and out in minutes. I took the food home but I live less than a 2 min drive away so that should factor into things. I got the half chicken with fries, cole slaw, tortillas, and extra hot sauce.

I just don't get it. What flavour? The bland spice mix that got burned onto the skin? The almost inedible dry white meat that had zero juices? The hot sauce that tasted like a simple puree of jalapenos, vinegar, and water? The tasteless and limp fries? The cole slaw and the dark meat were the only edible portions of my meal. Even so, the cole slaw wasn't as good as anything the Colonel sells you and the best thing I can say about the dark meat is that it's competes on even ground with rotisserie chicken from Giant.

Bleh! I want my $8.75 back. I want those 1000 calories back (oh, lord...will it really take over an hour and a half going full tilt on the elliptical to burn that crap off?).

Nando's Peri Peri is still the best restaurant chicken out there. Otherwise, I'll save my money and calories for chicken cooked (properly) at home.

I am a non beleiver too. My chicken was fairly peppery but all black pepper and cumin with no juice or flavor of the bird itself. The fries are sysco pre cut, frozen, broght in in ten hand truck loads, so what the fark do we know? It wasn't pout right bad but I don't think it is the best chicken or even among the best in Wheaton, let alone the DC Metro. I''ll take Pollo Sabroso anyday.
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I can't speak for the Wheaton location, but EPR Arlington remains great (the chicken, not the sides, which I've found at all these places are afterthoughts), and certainly superior to Don's Lee Highway Crisp & Juicy.

Nando's Peri Peri does not belong in the same sentence as either. The only thing of note there are the sauces, as the chicken on my visits has been cooked to the point of submission and the sides overpriced and lifeless.

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EPR vs. Crisp & Juicy, I think this is a good excuse to hit both this week!

My office is close to Crisp & Juicy and the aroma wafts across my parking lot when ever the wind is just right, and it has always been my favorite rotisserie chicken joint. EPR has that earthy, musty flavor I identify as cumin, and I just don't like it as much as Crisp & Juicy's chicken. And the sides? Crisp & Juicy have yucca done pretty well & the rice & beans are done with just enough garlic to make it interesting, both are pretty good. EPR, not so good. Neither birds have been dry when I buy them, but I kind of wish they would spin a bird or two that were skinned before they were seasoned and roasted. Less cholesterol from the skin would mean I could eat there more than every other blue moon, and maybe they wouldn't lose too much flavor. Maybe.

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I was in the Wheaton El Pollo last night for the usual half chicken with slaw and fries and somehow felt that it was not as good as the one in Arlington. In the first place, the Wheaton store has the chicken pre-sliced and off the rotisserie, so it is slightly more dried out than the Virginia Square location. Wheaton does offer tortillas as a side which I had not noticed at Arlington. It may just be that Wheatonites have different tastes than Arlingtonians because I have the same positives for the Crisp and Juicy off Lee Highway as compared to the one in what I still call Wheaton Plaza.

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El Pollo Rico in Wheaton, still Tim Carman's favorite.

I guess I don't get the whole crazy-for-Peruvian rotisserie thing.

Trip to nearby Target was reason for quick pop in. Very friendly, good service. Quarter bird w sides that come with, but perhaps I should have chosen other options since coleslaw was typically not good.

Bird was wonderfully juicy. Skin not flabby, but not crisp either. So far, the only roasted chickens I've liked have been my own Zuni Café take-offs and one in a little place over an hour away from Florence, run by a Scottish spouse and Italian (I forget who was the native). It was in the middle of black truffle season and the perfectly crackling, golden brown skin was stretched over lumps and bumps of earthy, moist truffles. It's time to try Palena's.

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El Pollo Rico in Wheaton, still Tim Carman's favorite.

I guess I don't get the whole crazy-for-Peruvian rotisserie thing.

Trip to nearby Target was reason for quick pop in. Very friendly, good service. Quarter bird w sides that come with, but perhaps I should have chosen other options since coleslaw was typically not good.

Bird was wonderfully juicy. Skin not flabby, but not crisp either. So far, the only roasted chickens I've liked have been my own Zuni Café take-offs and one in a little place over an hour away from Florence, run by a Scottish spouse and Italian (I forget who was the native). It was in the middle of black truffle season and the perfectly crackling, golden brown skin was stretched over lumps and bumps of earthy, moist truffles. It's time to try Palena's.

I finally found the location in Arlington the other day. They have high-volume bird pushing down to a science. Juicy meat, a patch of crispy skin (oh yeah! Wish there was more of it; didn't eat the rest - not flabby, but not crispy is a good description), but disappointing non-choice of sides. I don't eat cole slaw and prefer yucca over fries (which were fine). It's a great spot to grab a snack, but I think I still prefer Crisp & Juicy when I'm willing to switch neighborhoods.

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Its been a while but I've eaten at Pio Pio several times.  It offers "fine" if not the best version of Peruvian Chicken.  Its a reasonable alternative to El Pollo Rico right around the corner and a little less expensive.  If I've been to both about a dozen times total, I didn't detect a huge difference.

That's about right. I prefer El Pollo Rico, but El Pollo Rico is absolutely the most overrated pollo a la brasa restaurant in the DC area. It really *isn't* all that great - it's "pretty good." The chicken itself, that is; everything else there is for the birds.

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That's about right. I prefer El Pollo Rico, but El Pollo Rico is absolutely the most overrated pollo a la brasa restaurant in the DC area. It really *isn't* all that great - it's "pretty good." The chicken itself, that is; everything else there is for the birds.

My recollection exactly.  The chicken is fine, maybe better than fine.  Everything else--> not memorable to say the least.

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Do note that the Wheaton and Ballston El Pollo Rico locations now have different websites, and are presumably under different ownership.

I take that back. The Ballston location is listed on *both* websites. I've never seen anything like this before. The first website also shows locations in Gaithersburg and Woodbridge.

Nightmare on Moderation Street. Does anyone know what the current ownership situation is?

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We got El Pollo Rico the other night on delivery from Postmates because MK really wanted it and didn't want to drive to Carribean Grill (obviously the Postmates woman's first time delivering) but despite the hiccup with Postmates fries were still crispy and so chicken skin wasn't steamed into oblivion when it got here (which is good since the restaurant is literally about 6 blocks away).  We also got plain white rice.  I fixed veggies at home to go with it because I don't love their cole slaw.  I always wish they had better sides, but their chicken is still very good.

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11 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Still using generic frozen fries? It's beyond me why they don't have yucca - maybe a toaster-oven treatment will crisp up the fries a bit?

The fries were still crisp, but we live very close by.  But they just have terrible choices- slaw, fries, white rice, that's it.

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I am well aware there are other Peruvian chicken places around;  some better.  Yet El Pollo Rico is still quite good.  Its possible sides have improved.  Today our office had takeout,, with several chickens, rice, black beans, yucca, fries.  

It was great.  Better than great.  Every staffer enjoyed it.  We only get it on occasion.  But every staffer enjoys it.  Similarly one visits on certain nights and it is packed.  I continue to visit, even as I get Peruvian chicken from other places also.

Overall context:  for Peruvian chicken --El Pollo Rico = still good and tasty (white meat was quite moist today)

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42 minutes ago, DaveO said:

I am well aware there are other Peruvian chicken places around;  some better.  Yet El Pollo Rico is still quite good.  Its possible sides have improved.  Today our office had takeout,, with several chickens, rice, black beans, yucca, fries.  

It was great.  Better than great.  Every staffer enjoyed it.  We only get it on occasion.  But every staffer enjoys it.  Similarly one visits on certain nights and it is packed.  I continue to visit, even as I get Peruvian chicken from other places also.

Overall context:  for Peruvian chicken --El Pollo Rico = still good and tasty (white meat was quite moist today)

So now they have more for sides than just cole slaw and fries?

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35 minutes ago, ktmoomau said:

So now they have more for sides than just cole slaw and fries?

I didn't do the ordering, and when I stop by there I haven't noticed more...but we got plaintains (excellent) and black beans (also good) white rice plus their fries.  (none of their rancid cole slaw).   The entire staff loved it.

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