Guess which road I was on recently? Guess.
Waits a beat.
I know many of you have been on Guess Road, too, because that’s where the new Popeyes is located. Some of us in the newsroom took an excursion to see what all the fuss was about after the line shortened a bit.
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I think the fuss was basically that it was something new to check out. The drive-through line wrapped around the building and out on the street, with a police officer directing traffic. I saw both City of Durham and Durham County vehicles in the parking lot, so the interest is a city-county partnership. Inside, the line was a least a dozen people deep the duration of the late-lunch crowd.
I turned to a couple standing behind me and asked if they’d been there before. They have been to the Popeyes in Oxford, they reported, and it was fine. They came to the Durham Popeyes for the same reason I was there -- to check it out.
I thought it was fine. I’m partial to Bojangles biscuits myself and PDQ chicken tenders and ranch, or KFC for the entire chicken meal with mashed potatoes. That’s a good thing, when there are multiple options for fast food fried chicken.
The last time I ate Popeyes was at the Springfield Mall food court in the 1990s in Northern Virginia. I’d just get two biscuits as a meal. I’m sure I ate at plenty of Popeyes -- and Po Folks and a bunch of other Southern food joints -- when I lived in Augusta, Georgia as a kid.
As a longtime newspaper reporter, I shouldn’t be susceptible to advertising, but I have a visceral response to those Bojangles ads during college basketball and football games. It’s Bo Time, alright.
Let’s talk more about chicken fast food. I like how their meal packaging come in a box. With burgers and other stuff, it’s wrapped in paper or a plastic container and put in a bag. But there’s something more enjoyable about your chicken, biscuits and sides meal coming in a paper box you open like a present. A present of delicious fried chicken and biscuits, just for you.
I’m typing this on a day I ate a salad, and am just noting that to point out that fried chicken is a “sometimes food,” as Cookie Monster would say. It was spinach salad, the healthier of greens, to my salad knowledge. However some days you want biscuits and fried chicken.
I was visiting friends in Virginia last year when I guess I mentioned Bojangles in passing -- as North Carolinians do -- and they said how much they wished they had a Bojangles nearby. I agreed that they were lacking.
So down here where Bojangles are everywhere, the announcement of a competing biscuit and fried stuff establishment perked up our radar. Good for Popeyes to expand to Durham, and good for Bojangles -- and Biscuitville, mind you -- to be our biscuit staples who will take us back after we’ve tried a buffet of Southern food goodness.