Pollo Tropical Is About To Be Everywhere Around Dallas. So What Should We Expect of It?

Last week, we told you that Dallas-area residents are about to be inundated with another concept from the folks behind Taco Cabana over the course of the next two years. And how: Over that time span, Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc., plans to open around 40 of their Miami-based, chicken-and-rice-focused Pollo Tropical concepts around North Texas, the first of which is expected to open in either Addison or Dallas by the first quarter of 2014, depending on “which city gives the permit faster,” says Fiesta Restaurant Group CEO Tim Taft.

A ballsy move? Certainly. There's no doubting that introducing a buttload of new restaurants to a new market — all specializing in a distinct cuisine, no less — takes some guts. But Taft's not too worried about the idea; instead, he argues, Pollo Tropical offers unique fare — and, better yet, options that aren't available elsewhere in the fiercely competitive Dallas food scene.

“I've been operating restaurants in Texas for the last 25, 30 years — and there's nothing like it,” Taft says. “That's really the big reason we felt comfortable bringing [Pollo Tropical] to Texas. There's a lot of companies out there that sell fried chicken, baked and rotisserie chicken. But there's not a taste profile like us.”

That's fair. Aside from its famous citrus-marinated grilled chicken, Pollo Tropical's menu features grilled and pulled pork, wings, ribs, salads, sandwiches and other Caribbean “favorites” such as tostones, fried yuca, caldo gallego and sweet plantains. And, says Taft, the company is even working on adding some Texas-inspired items to its menu so as to satisfy our own unique palates.

Another reason to look forward to this eatery? Its price value.

Says Taft: “The research resoundingly says, regardless of what market that we're in, [that] the customer says, 'I can't believe I got that quality food, that amount, for that little amount of money.”

Similarly to his company's Taco Cabana offerings, lunch meals at Pollo Tropical will run between $6 and $8. Meanwhile, a family dinner meal, which includes a whole chicken, plus four to five sides, all while feeding six to eight people, will cost just a little north of $12. Also like a la Taco Cabana, Taft promises that Pollo Tropical will feature a varied fresh salsa bar.

And, come that 2014 opening, area patrons can expect something else from the Pollo Tropical camp: When the first store is ready to go, Taft promises, there will be a party to celebrate its opening. Already, he's planning a beach-themed bash for that grand opening blowout, complete with giveaways, music, volleyball and even some surfing.

“Y'know in Texas, [people always] have a mechanical bull,” he says with a laugh. “But Pollo Tropical brings a mechanical surfboard. It's a good time.”

Cover photo of Pollo Tropical's grilled wings, beans and rice via WikiCommons.

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