Popeyes chicken is finger-lickin’ good, but a California restaurant owner took her own licking from an irate customer who took offense to the eatery’s practice of using the chicken chain’s product as part of their menu and “passing it off” as their own.
According to a report by Good Morning America, a Yelp reviewer slammed Sweet Dixie Kitchen in Long Beach, California, after seeing a waiter bring “two large boxes of Popeyes to the kitchen.” When the customer inquired about the ingredients in the restaurant’s chicken and waffles dish, a waiter admitted that the restaurant doesn’t fry up their own chicken, but instead uses Popeyes products a part of the dish. The Long Beach restaurant’s chicken and waffles dish is priced at $13.
“I wanted to believe that this was just a snack for the workers, but alas it was not,” Yelp reviewer Tyler H wrote. “I ordered the chicken and waffles to see whether or not they were serving Popeye’s to their customers. I thought the chicken tasted suspiciously like Popeyes. I kindly asked our waiter how they cooked their fried chicken. After checking, he admitted that they do in fact use Popeye’s.”
The Yelp user revealed that the eatery comped his meal after his complaint.
Sweet Dixie Kitchen owner Kim Sanchez took to the review site to offer an explanation, revealing her restaurant “proudly serves Popeyes’ spicy tenders — the best fried chicken anywhere and from New Orleans — which are delivered twice a day.”
In her response, Sanchez also revealed that she buys her gumbo from a friend who sells it at a local farmers market” and pointed out that her restaurant doesn’t “mill our own flour” or “grow our own veggies.”
“I am owning this,” Sanchez told ABC News of the chicken controversy.
“I love their chicken. It’s the best I’ve ever had.”
Sanchez said she reached out to Popeyes to form a partnership with the chain but has not heard back. She also denied allegations that she tried to “trick” customers into thinking the chicken was fried in her own kitchen, saying, “Honey, I carried it through the front door.”
In an interview with Fox News, Sanchez revealed that she started using Popeyes two months ago for two new dishes — fried chicken and waffles and the fried chicken sandwich — because she doesn’t have deep fryer capability at her location.
“I tried Costco chicken, I tried Restaurant Depot chicken, and then I went to dinner at Popeyes and knew this was the chicken we had to use for the store,” she told Fox. “It’s the best chicken.”
Sanchez also pointed out that she never tried to hide the fact that the chicken used on her menu came from Popeyes.
“We wrote it on our board in the restaurant, ‘Imported from Louisiana this week, thank you Popeyes,'” she told Fox.
“It wasn’t a secret. We use the chicken as an ingredient in a menu item we made, we don’t use their sauces or anything else.”
Sanchez said she would be “glad” to put Popeyes on her menu, but she made it clear that her use of the chicken chain’s products has never been a secret.
“I walk in through the front door carrying the bag of chicken. The customers know where it’s from. Popeyes knows.”
Sanchez said she will continue to use Popeyes chicken on her menu.
You can see the Good Morning America report below.
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]