May 11, 2009

Guatemala-based Pollo Campero is so popular that El Salvador's TACA airline asked the fast-food company to improve its packaging—seems that when too many passengers brought the spicy chicken on board, the aroma in the cabin prompted complaints. But going loco for pollo just got easier; the chain has landed in L.A. (1605 W. Olympic Blvd.; 213/251-8594) and Houston (5616 Bellaire Blvd.; 713/395-0990), and plans are being hatched to expand to New York and Washington, D.C.

Pollo Campero, Houston

First established in Guatemala in 1971, this family-owned eatery is now an international franchise offering authentic, affordable Latin fare. At Houston’s Bellaire location, the festive dining area is designed in a palette of bright orange and yellow and is filled with upbeat bachata music. After ordering at the counter, patrons sit at simple tables to enjoy the restaurant’s signature fried chicken, hand-prepared every day with a secret blend of herbs and spices. In addition to selections from the salsa bar, diners can also pair their chicken with traditional sides like sweet plantains and Campero beans.

Pollo Campero, L.A.

The largest fast food chain in Latin America, Pollo Campero (meaning “country chicken”) was first founded in Guatemala in 1971. Then, in 2002, the franchise expanded to the United States, beginning with this flagship location in downtown L.A. Here, lines extending out the front door are not uncommon, as patrons are willing to wait for the restaurant’s Latin-style fried chicken, prepared with a special blend of herbs and spices. While seated in the spacious, brightly colored dining area, customers enjoy their chicken with warm tortillas, fresh pico de gallo, and authentic sides like sweet plantains and fried yuca.

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