El Pollo Loco

About: Founded in 1975, Guasave, Mexico 275 locations in 4 western states and 2 countries

Contact: 877-375-4968 or 949-399-2000

Author Recommends: Three piece (thighs) meal with veggies and black beans.

MMM, Good! El Pollo Loco makes great-tasting everything. Great chicken, yummy burritos, and the delicious Fiesta Salad make most visits to EPL a treat. I do have to qualify that with the word "most" because there are a few things about EPL that are hit-or-miss.

First off, you never know whether the inside or drive-thru will be faster. I mean, usually when you see a long line at the drive-thru and nobody at the counter it doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess which one will be faster. Or maybe it does. Because about a month ago this happened and I ended up waiting over 20 minutes inside while watching my drive-thru counterparts getting their orders filled.

Another thing about El Pollo Loco is the fact that some franchisees do not offer the full menu. I recently moved to Arizona and was disappointed to discover that my local franchise-owned EPL does not have the ovens to make quesadillas. Dang! My wife loves those. So we make it a point to order one every time anyway, just to let them know there's demand! (EDIT: They now make quesadillas at our location in AZ - progress!)

Regardless of these seemingly minor inconveniences, overall experiences at EPL are above-average. Not quite fast food and not as fancy as quick-casual, El Pollo Loco rests comfortably in that in-between world where feeding two or 20 is a no-brainer. -RB

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