11 Secrets You Never Knew About Popeyes
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen may have roots down South, but it's become a fried chicken favorite for everyone. That signature orange logo is a beacon for fried food lovers everywhere, where you know you'll always get well-executed comfort food with Cajun flavors. Of course, like every chain restaurant, it's worth noting some of the secrets and hacks—if for no other reason than to keep expectations realistic or save a few bucks. Before you bite into that fried chicken sandwich, read up on the secrets Popeyes restaurant would rather you didn't know. Plus, don't miss 11 Secrets Arby's Doesn't Want You to Know.
This sandwich is 700 calories
Look, if you're grabbing fast food you know you're getting into a high-calorie situation, but the famous Spicy Chicken Sandwich clocks in at a gut-busting 700 calories and has 1,473 milligrams of sodium. The FDA recommends you eat no more than 2,300 American food of sodium a day.
The last Popeyes buffet closed in 2021
Apparently, at one time, many Popeyes locations were actually all-you-can-eat buffets. Over the years they have been sadly phased out. The last one standing in, Lafayette, LA, was made famous by Anthony Bourdain, who ate at the location for three days straight, enjoying the $8.99 price tag. Sadly according to Eater, the location is still there but the buffet did not survive the pandemic.
This secret spice blend will upgrade your grilled chicken
Skipping fried foods but missing all the flavor? Ask for the chain's Cajun Sparkle spice, which is used on tots and some fried chicken, and is kept behind the counter, according to Mashable. Cajun Sparkle, which includes garlic powder, onion powder, and red and black pepper, tastes savory and spicy and really elevates the chain's grilled options—it's also great on anything fried too!
You can make their fried chicken at home
"One of the hallmarks of Popeyes chicken is the amount of flavor we get from marination, whether it's a sandwich fillet, a piece of fried chicken, or a tender," Amy Alarcon, head of culinary innovation for Popeyes, told Forbes. Just follow her recipe for roasted chicken, then fry it up in a very hot oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable shortening or peanut oil.
The chain isn't named for the spinach loving sailor
You might think Popeyes was named for the cartoon character, but founder Al Copeland was a fan of the classic film The French Connection, and Popeye Doyle was a character played by Gene Hackman. Copeland reportedly just liked the character's style!
There's an actual reason the name has no apostrophe
Though the restaurant name reads as possessive, there's never been an apostrophe in there anywhere. Copeland joked that he was "too poor" to afford one, reports Thrillist, when he started out, and later, even after the restaurant's huge growth, he kept the branding consistent.
The restaurant had to buy their own recipe back
A few years back, Popeyes made news nationwide for spending a whopping $43 million to buy their secret recipe for fried chicken, according to Thrillist. Even though Copeland relinquished control of the company in 1992, he had been charging the chain an annual royalties fee of $3.1 million to use the recipes. Now, Popeyes still has to pay the Copeland estate for spices, but they did get their hands on the recipes.
Not every location has the full menu
Popeyes bright orange sign dots many rest-stops across the US, but when you see that sign on a late night, don't get your hopes up for a chicken sandwich. We're not sure why, but most rest area Popeyes offer an abbreviated menu, as people have noted on Reddit and Tripadvisor, and for some states, like Maine, those are the only locations.
You can menu hack gravy fries
While most fast food places don't offer gravy, Popeyes offers gravy over their mashed potatoes. Just order whatever size fries you want, and ask nicely for a side of gravy. Pour over your spicy Cajun fries (or dip, you do you) and there you have it, disco fries!
They once served chicken wings tossed in Champagne and 24-carat gold
Yes, Popeyes is always a little extra, and they went over-the-top for the opening of their 3,000th store, Eater reports. In 2018, at just four locations, they breaded their boneless chicken wings in champagne before tossing them in 24 karat gold flakes–for the low price of $5!
Beyoncé eats free for life
This is maybe the best perk ever, Beyoncé apparently has access to an endless supply of Popeyes. "Everywhere I went, people would buy me Popeyes, like the fans, and Popeyes heard, so they gave me a lifetime membership," the singer told Oprah in 2003. The singer confessed at the time she's too embarrassed to use the card though.
A previous version of this article was originally published on December 25, 2021.
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