Well, I finally got around to visiting El Pollo Rico and Pollo Campero (both in Wheaton). According to award winning reviews, posts here and lines at the restaurant, El Pollo Rico seems like it would be a destination restaurant.
it's just fire-cooked chicken (similar in taste to chicken cooked over a barbecue grill) with a somewhat spicy rub. I stress the "somewhat" spicy, becuase, although it was pretty decent, it really didn't penetrate the entire chicken. I've eaten at plenty of chicken places in Mexico, where rotisserie chicken is sold. The chicken in Mexico is just ok, and barely spiced. it's main appeal is that it's quite cheap in mexico and that it's fresh and pretty convenient.
Finally the prices. I myself consumed a whole bird in one sitting, mainly becuase i prefer not to eat the more grisly (fatty) parts of the chicken and i usually prefer not to eat skin, unless it is highly spiced and extremely tasty. At $11.31 or so, decently priced, but not exactly dirt cheap either. I admit the steak fries were quite good and the green salsa (not the mayo based one) is also quite good, if they would just give you more of it. I just fail to see what is so "special" about El Pollo Rico. It is good chicken, with a good fire roasted flavor, and that seems to be about it. The spice/rub is pretty decent/good but nothing out of this world or anything.
As for Pollo Campero, i read the posts here about the long lines and fanaticism to try Campero's chicken. Well i had a 3 piece dinner for $6.81. The fries, cole slaw and tortillas were really nothing special at all. And the chicken? A step above KFC, Popeye's and the like in preparation and lower on the grease/nastiness factor. but when it came down to it, spicy KFC or Popeye's is actually tastier. I just never eat it mainly because it is usually prepared in an extremely greasy and nasty fashion. And the brine/spices? Nothing that i found extremely flavorful or out of the ordinary. Overall, i found it kind of pricy for 3 pieces of chicken. Would i visit it over mcdonald's and the like? sure. but anything special?
am i missing something here? please provide your input or opinions as to what i may have missed. did i order wrong? did i get a dud order? Is Crisp and Juicy or another chicken place better/spicier/tastier? Thanks!!