El Pollo Rico

Written by on October 23, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(welovethischicken.com) – Ballston neighborhood, Arlington, Virginia

How I heard of this place: The first I heard of El Pollo Rico was at the end of April, when, after a Baha’i Holy Day celebration, the friends gathered at Quincy Park wanted to walk over to the local Peruvian chicken shop for lunch. Sadly for me, at the time, I was just beginning my two week raw food diet and had to pass. For six months I have not only been hearing rave reviews of the joint, but have been wanting to try it!

Type of cuisine: Seasoned, charcoal broiled chicken, served in whole, half or quarter and sides: rice, fries, cole slaw. Simple.

Pollo Rico Rotisserie

Ambiance: Having heard of the place so often, I guess I had drawn the picture in my head of a small, hole-in-the-wall, the air thick with the smells of thousands of roasted chickens. Instead, we were greeted into a large, open space with doors only for windows, brightly painted red, yellow and green along the far right wall, and sparse decorations. The only things on the walls were muted gold framed paintings of flamenco dancers, horses and Southern American landscapes.

Pollo Rico Interior

Recently having begun to take cash, two registers (one for cash only, the other for both cash and credit cards) sitting on a long countertop extending from one end of the restaurant to the other, separates the space between cafe seating andkitchen. A small menu of choices hangs above the 25-chicken roasters (I noticed two of them), with your chicken choices: whole, half, half-white or quarter. Each entree comes with two sides of your choice: rice, cole slaw, or fries. And each order is accompanied by either two or four sauces (a spicy green one, and/or a mayonnaise-like pale yellow one).

Pollo Rico Line

What I ordered: On this, my first visit, I went with the half-white order of broiled chicken ($9.68) with cole slaw and fries on the side. My husband wanted an orange Fanta ($1), so we got that on the side. Two of my dining companions selected the half-chicken with double fries and our third eating companion selected the half-chicken with fries and cole slaw.

Pollo Rico Chicken & Fries

On a return visit, Sunday, 29 April 2012: A group of twenty (or so) of us made our way to El Pollo Rico for the second annual 9th Day of Ridvan lunch in Arlington. Beginning at Quincy Park for a child-friendly Holy Day celebration, the children snacked on cheese-flavored crackers, Fig Newtons and juice boxes, to keep them comfortable while the adults allowed their appetites to build. Then, we all made our way over. Chris and I shared the Half White order ($9.68) with a double side of fries. Two bottles of orange Fanta ($1.70 each) later, we were full, happy, and licking our fingers clean!

Pollo Rico Sides

What I loved: The chicken is moist, tender and full of flavor. The thick-cut fries are perfectly crisp on the outside and soft and doughy on the inside. I especially loved the green, spicy sauce and was thrilled that I had two of them on my plate!

Pollo Rico November 2013

Why I loved it: Simple menu. Quick food. Finger-lickin’ tasty, seasoned chicken. Satisfying.

Cost: Low to average ($7-$10 per chicken order, with two sides)

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