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El Pollo Loco will soon open its first location in Louisiana at 3808 Johnston St. in Lafayette.
The popular quick-service restaurant — whose Spanish name translates to "The Crazy Chicken" — started in Mexico in 1975 and now has more than 400 locations.
Background: Restaurant to bring ‘theater of chicken’ to Lafayette
Local franchisee Jason Trotter announced last year his intention to enter the Louisiana market.
El Pollo Loco is known for its chicken and Mexican-inspired entrees.
(Photo: John Kelly Photography)
Trotter, a former franchisee of the fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant, Zoës Kitchen, first tried El Pollo Loco while living in San Diego, California, as a child. While looking for a franchise opportunity in Lafayette, Trotter visited Houston and saw that El Pollo Loco had entered the market.
"I was looking for something that hadn’t been done 1,000 times over in the Lafayette market," Trotter said during an October interview. "And I’d had the food there, and believe, it’s amazing. It’s what we did at Zoës — almost more prep. Everything is made fresh every day. It’s something very different from what any other fast-food restaurant has to offer."
El Pollo Loco plans to open two Lafayette locations by 2018. (Photo: Submitted)
Lafayette’s first El Pollo Loco restaurant will be located at the corner of Johnston Street and Westchester Drive.
Construction on the building is expected to begin in early September, with an anticipated opening in the late spring of 2018.
The 3,000-square-foot restaurant will include a drive-thru.
El Pollo Loco is known for flame-grilled, citrus-marinated chicken, burritos, salads, soups, tacos and quesadillas.
Steve Sather, president and CEO of El Pollo Loco, described the restaurant as being quick-service-plus — offering the speed, convenience and pricing of a fast-food restaurant such as Taco Bell with the quality of a fast-casual restaurant such as Chipotle.
Sather’s favorite meal from the restaurant is the three-piece chicken combo with rice and beans. Trotter’s is the same but with a side of corn instead of rice.
"The chicken is just craveable," Sather said during an October interview. "Even though we have other great products, it’s really all about the chicken."
El Pollo Loco is publically traded and has more than 470 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and Utah.