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Restaurants & Bars 2

Pollo Campero

Stan | Sep 26, 2002 12:08 AM

So I went to Pollo Campero, the Guatemalan fried chicken place that has famously opened on the corner of Olympic and Union. It was packed. But as far as I can tell, the main attraction of the place was sentimental: the food was ordinary.

The restaurant is located on the ground floor of a kind of interesting office building. Though it's hard to move two inches without bumping into anyone inside the restaurant, there are rather nice stone tables on a large porch outside. The traffic noise on Olympic will get to you after a while, but it's okay.

The restaurant is mostly a standard fast-food place. There are some quirks: if you are getting take-out, you have to know to get your drinks from a different place (with a different line) than the place where you pick up your food. And you do probably want take-out: because of the huge long lines, and the tendency of the customers to come in threes and fours, all of the tables are occupied by people without food who are waiting for their colleagues to reach the front of the line.

The food is very basic fried chicken with very basic sides like beans, rice, tortillas, and maybe three other things. I think they do regular and crispy, but that's about it. The world contains several whole strata of greater fried chicken experts than I, so it is quite possible that I am missing something, but I found it hard to tell Pollo Compero's chicken from anyone else's. Having read in one of the news article that the batter was chipotle flavored, okay, sure, I guess I could maybe find a trace of chipotle flavor in it. But nothing striking or distinctive. The chicken was well enough cooked and everything was basically hot and fresh. But mostly it seemed like a lot of people experiencing nostalgia for their homeland as they attenuated their lifespans on the deep-fried cuisine.

If others more expert have other opinions I'd be interested to hear them.

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