The New Popeye’s Is Open and People Are Kind of Freaking Out


Kyle Marshall (left) and David Sanchez (right) after their Popeye’s purchases.

The long-awaited Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen opened on Monday night at 2534 Broadway between 94th & 95th streets and one of the earliest customers sent in his impressions.

“It’s the most wholesome spot in all of New York,” wrote Kyle Marshall, who purchased a five-piece spicy tender with a biscuit, red beans and rice, and cole slaw, with a sweet tea. His friend David Sanchez got a three-piece spicy tender and biscuit with cajun fries.

“Everyone working there was clearly a little nervous about the big day but they were all going the extra mile to make sure every customer walked out happy.”

This is the first Popeye’s in the neighborhood in decades.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 117 comments | permalink
    1. UWS is dying says:

      There goes the neighborhood (as if it weren’t already going)…

      • T(ruth) B. Told says:

        O.M.G.!!! How Teh-Wibbly Teh-Wibble !

        Imagine: People eating in a (GASP!!!) chain restaurant!! A clear case of T.E.O.T.W.A.W.K.I. (the end of the world as we know it) !!

        At least to those unaware that the UWS includes MANY “people-of-limited-means”, especially the working-poor-with-large-families.

        And, guess what! These decent folk also like to eat-out, but NOT in places with $11 “Boston Lettuce” appetizers followed by a $31 Hanger Steak (Designer Hanger $5.00 extra).

        So a clean, well-run, inexpensive outlet of a national chain providing interesting food AND employment to local youth will NOT cause the Earth to stop spinning.

    2. jerry says:

      If people are freaking out over this kind of stuff, we’re in sadder shape than I thought.

    3. chris woo says:

      i (V) their dirty rice

    4. TQ says:

      Yeah, this really sounds like “freaking out”. Come on. You’re better than this, WSR.

    5. dannyboy says:

      I met a guy who was on his way “while the oil is still clean”.

    6. Insider says:

      Both Applebees grill and Bar and IHOP will both be coming in the late 2020 to to the upper West 70’s/80’s on the UWS.

    7. AC57 says:

      If Popeye’s is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

      • Yeah, the negative remarks in a town famous around the world for the variety of it’s cuisine; besides, there more important local things to get upset about.

    8. Same says:

      The beginning of a new era of unfine dining on the UWS.

      • dannyboy says:

        The New Upper West Side is quickly replacing the UWS. It is characterized by Super-Gentrification and Crapification.

      • Sean says:

        It was never fine. It was maybe cozy. Bring back The Bagel Nosh.

      • Lunabee says:

        The upper west side is a fine place, where fine dining restaurants go to die. Think of what has closed in recent times because they attract the wrong demographic. The upper west is diverse. Restaurants must cater to the local population or they won’t survive. The UWS is not a “destination”. Not the west village, not Tribeca, not Soho or Chelsea. If people want $50 steaks on the UWS, they need to put up or shut up.

    9. UWSHebrew says:

      they fry the chicken and french fries in lard, so I’ll never know 🙁

      • jezbel says:

        No they don’t use lard. Trans-fats are prohibited in NYC.
        I make a great living and I love Popeyes. I know how to use the waste basket and everything.
        The neighborhood is “going” anywhere it hasn’t already been.

    10. Sadworld says:

      I’m new to WSR. I think I’m done though. What on earth did I just read?

      • dannyboy says:

        Best advice I can offer is to roll with the punches.

        Otherwise it DOES begin to look like a Sadworld.

    11. Rob G. says:

      So much for classing up the neighborhood. A gross bookend to the equally gross McDonald’s across the street.

    12. Elle says:

      Great. Greasy fried chicken loaded with sodium and fat.No thanks.

    13. Ivan Stoler says:

      Proof that NYC has been taken over by suburbanites and …

    14. wombatNYC says:

      love me some Popeyes but it’s only a matter of months before the sidewalks are filled with rubbish, beverage puddles and saliva . human behavior around trash astounds me

      • Uwsider says:

        Agree. The trash around the McDonalds is disgusting. These establishments need to take more responsibility to clean the areas around them. Hopefully Popeyes will be better than the McDs.

    15. UWS_lifer says:

      What is wrong with some of you?!?

      You complain about businesses closing…you complain about businesses opening??

      God forbid that other people might enjoy something that you don’t. You sound ridiculous and petty.

      I am thrilled about this!! Will I be there everyday? of course not but it is awesome to have Popeye’s in the neighborhood.

      And to be honest, it really comes off as obnoxious and even classist the way some of you have reacted.

      So everybody relax, there are plenty of real issues facing this neighborhood. Fried Chicken is NOT one of them. That is all.:)

      • Jacq_UWS says:

        Here, here! As someone who scours the neighborhood for cheap & Edible eats because living expenses are astronomical and sometimes, Im just too exhausted from cooking, working 16+ hours days, I like to have something that is delicious & easy. Fattening- fine. But I can’t afford the gorgeous meals down south near Lincoln center.

      • whydoyoucarewhereieat says:

        I agree. Personally I choose not to eat food from there and do not judge those who do.
        Love to see people get all “high and mighty” about where everyone else is choosing to eat. The world would be a much better place if we worked more on ourselves rather than criticizing everyone else’s innocuous behaviors. Sheesh!

      • UWSer says:

        We’re not just randomly obnoxious. We see the influx of fast-food and suburban chain stores as clear evidence of the mall-ification of the UWS (and, more broadly, of NYC). If this continues, the city will simply be a more densely populated version of the suburbs, with no difference in character or aesthetic (aside from more trash on the sidewalk). This isn’t classist; it’s about loving New York and watching it slip through our hands very quickly.

        • Sean says:

          Horn and Hardart was to some extent fast food. The UWS is a suburban community. It closes at 10pm.

        • trendyguy says:

          This entire city (and world) has evolved into what we see today because of economic and cultural trends that nearly everyone has embraced with open arms. Were that not the case then we wouldn’t be having the discussion. Businesses only give what the consumer is willing to buy.

          • Christina says:

            Or willing to rent if they can afford the space. One reason chains are coming to the UWS… there are the ones who can afford the astronomical rents!

      • Ethan says:

        And then there are the people who complain about the complainers..

      • Billy says:

        Thank you! So many with this elitist attitude is why I sometimes can’t stand the UWS. Some of us actually enjoy fast food and tbh there are very few options like this in the area if any at all so please stop with all the complaining. If you don’t like it then move along and go eat somewhere else.

        • UWSer says:

          Billy, you’re missing the point. I have no problem with the fact that the food is high in fat, salt or whatever. I don’t have a problem with the fact that it’s cheap. I love cheap, and I also love salt and fat. I DO have a problem with the fact that every time a new suburban chain arrives on the UWS, the neighborhood loses some of its character. It won’t be long before that character is gone. People (at least before millenials) don’t love NYC because it’s got all the suburban chains. They love NYC for its character. But Yankee Candle, IHOP and DSW do not character make. When was the last time you walked into a Burger King and thought to yourself, “Wow, I really value the story behind this company // the family that runs it // what it adds to the neighborhood // how unique its decor is // how the employees and I are on a first-name basis”?!?

          • Ken says:

            very well-said. thank you.

          • Iris Agar says:

            I grew up on the UWS, and we always had fast food chains, as well as other chains stores.
            Nedicks, Choch Full O’ Nuts, Woolworths, Lamstons, Rexalls Drugs, Schraffts (chain), and many other chain stores, and the UWS survived!.

          • Stuart says:

            When did IHOP open on the Upper West Side?

      • Chrissy says:

        I agree with you. I am shocked by all the negative comments.

      • Jay says:

        The kvetchers are a very small portion of the UWS. They are particularly attracted to this blog, though.

        • dannyboy says:

          stop kvetchin about it already.

        • UWSer says:

          When you see anyone who opposed chain stores as a “kvetcher”, you render this issue absurdly reductive. By your logic, anyone who opposes anything for any reason is just a kvetcher. How about considering the actual issue instead?

          P.S.- What will it take for you people to care about the mall-ification of this very special city? Will you still fail to care when Zabar’s becomes Subway? When LeVain becomes Checkers? When Barzini’s becomes 7-11? You boggle the mind.

          • Jay says:

            You know what I’m talking about when I say, kvetchers. They are the minority of people who want the city to become a museum at the expense of everyone and loudly complain when reality occurs.

            I really don’t care if there are more chain stores. That’s a reflection of where people shop.

            Times have changed. I love some of the small stores on the UWS, but I’m not about to support using tax dollars to prop up a business that would otherwise fail. If enough people value a store for its goods and/or service, then it will prosper, if they don’t, it will fail. We are not immune to economics in the Uws.

            • UWSer says:

              Yeah, hard pass on any comment about this city that includes the phrase “I really don’t care”. Next!

            • dannyboy says:

              “I really don’t care if there are more chain stores. That’s a reflection of where people shop… We are not immune to economics in the Uws.

              Do you mean the concentration of economic power?

              Do you mean like the Monopoly power of chain stores?

          • SarcasticSam says:

            i like chain stores. so do many people. that’s why they continue to exist.

            seems like you want to deny me the choice to shop where I want. how very nice of you.

    16. Kenneth Fallin says:

      These lips will never Chic-fil-ay, so for a fried chicken lover, POPEYE”S is a dream come true for this ex-southern boy!

    17. Sean says:

      We need an Olive Garden.

    18. Mark Moore says:

      I got home from work last night and rode the elevator up with a women who had a Popeye’s bag. She said the place was swamped with customers. It smelled pretty good in that elevator though, I have to say.

      Anyone try the Boilery yet? Not sure how that place is going to last.

    19. Cindy says:

      Their deep fried Cajun style turkeys are the best thing for Thanksgiving. Seriously.

    20. Rob says:

      LOVE THAT CHICKEN AT POPEYE’S!!

    21. Upperwestsidewally says:

      Again, judging by the sheer number of UPS, USPS, DHL, and FedEx delivery trucks, UWSers have nobody to blame but themselves for the decline in the number of stores on the UWS.

      • Sean says:

        This is a worldwide phenomena and not limited to the UWS.

      • D-Rex says:

        Exactly!

        I’m sure there are many reasons why people order things online that they can buy down the street, but being to lazy to walk a few blocks should not be one of them!

        Frequent local shops, or you will have no local shops!

        Pay the extra couple of dollars (if you are able) so our streets don’t continue their downward trend toward urban wasteland!!!

        • dannyboy says:

          Yes AND EXACTLY!

          Working on a catchy slogan that will win EVERYONE over. So far I got:

          “Shop local because it’s good for you.”

          “Shop local and meet your neighbors.”

          That’s what I got so far.

    22. Rachel Toomey says:

      Popeyes is yum. A couple of times a year.

    23. Chrissyc says:

      I am so excited. We needed a chicken place and I am so glad it is Popeyes!!!
      I get why people are freaking out!

    24. UWS_lifer says:

      OK, I have been thinking about this all day and I have read everyone’s comments on this topic and I have a great idea…

      Now that we have Popeye’s let’s open a Chick-Fil-A, KFC, Bojangles, Raising Canes and a Church’s Fried Chicken in the neighborhood and let the market decide. It could be like a “Fried Chicken District” and people would come from far and wide.:)

      Good, ole fashioned free market fried chicken capitalism. Our property values would double overnight!!

      • mkmuws says:

        It’s Popeye’s all the way. But I like this Little Chicken district idea anyhow..

      • Tibbeth says:

        Excellent suggestion: UWS “Fried Chicken District”, a destination neighborhood. For delivery order via Amazon Prime, Jet or Fresh Direct! Delightful!

      • B.B. says:

        Wash your mouth out! *LOL*

        Chick-Fil-A is nothing like Popeye’s (thank God).

    25. davidaron says:

      Actually, Popeyes knows the deal. There used to be KFC a block north on Bway for decades. They did a pretty good business,too.

    26. Chicken girl says:

      Yaaasss! You made my day!!

    27. Steve Smith says:

      Popeyes is a major player in NOLA (New Oeleans) and is typical of Southern food, so my cousin from NOLA tells me. I’ll check them out next week when I’m at Tulane! Then I’ll compare!

    28. woodcider says:

      “The UWS is losing its character”…

      The we have blocks of empty storefronts on Amsterdam Ave. kind of character? The UWS looks like wasteland of frame shops and dry cleaners character?

      If the neighborhood was too good for Popeyes then there would be no Popeyes. We don’t even have good Chinese for christsakes.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        Han Dynasty.

        • Bill says:

          I made the mistake of ordering from Handy Nasty shortly after it went on Seamless. Food arrived late and was cold, flavorless mush. Never again.

          • Mark P says:

            XD
            Handy Nasty! Haven’t heard it! Love it!
            Curmudgeon disclaimer: I’ve never eaten there so don’t know if the name is apt. I just think it’s funny if it is.

        • Chris says:

          Szechuan Garden @ 105 & Broadway

      • Philip Holtberg says:

        LOL! The big reply was two chinese joints on the UWS. Whoopie!

      • Jay says:

        I’m staunchly pro-Popeye’s but gotta speak in defense of our Chinese options as well 🙂 If you’re willing to step outside the old General Tso’s/Lo Mein staples there are numerous really solid options here now, for the sort of cuisine I used to have to travel to Flushing for (Szechuan etc.)

    29. Applebee says:

      Applebees Grill and Bar will be moving into the upper West side at 68th St./Broadway across the street from AMC theaters

    30. Jen says:

      Only 57 comments dedicated to a major event such a fried chicken joint? I expected at least a 100. Let the “freaking out” continue and see if we can hit this mark.

      • dannyboy says:

        Jen, I can agree that the great majority of Comments on WSR are “freak outs”, but sometimes you can gain insight. Like from the thoughtful commentary provided by “resident” below at #37 and also “Sean’s” Reply.

    31. ms says:

      Get over it people. Don’t like it? don’t go. Annoyed and maybe offended that it came to ‘your’ neighborhood? Move. Frankly this classist BS is much more damaging to the UWS than any fast food restaurant could ever be. Grow up.

    32. Ray says:

      The opening of a Popeye’s is about as exciting as watch a fly crawl up a drape.

    33. UWS Craig says:

      I stopped going there when I heard Popeye cooks food in Olive Oyl.

    34. Harry the doorman says:

      I heard last week from the doorman in that building that TGI Friday is planning to movie into where the Ocean restaurant was on Columbus Avenue between 78 and 79th Street here on the West Side.

    35. Barb says:

      I don’t think it changes the neighborhood because it’s just one little place surrounded by gorgeous architecture. Very different in LA, where something like this has real impact visually. Broadway Ave is a mall in a way, as long as they stay there it’s ok.

    36. UWS Zaddy says:

      LMFAO … It’s just CHICKEN

    37. resident says:

      This isn’t a class issue. That’s just an attempt by people to distract from the real issue. Chains change the feel, economy and community in a neighborhood. Local stores usually mean local people within our local economy. It isn’t about whether Popeye’s is good. It is about what it does to a neighborhood. You need to wake up if you don’t understand how big chains put little chains or local stores out of business–the same “little people” you say are suffering from the expensive restaurants around. You want to go there? great. You want to support them? Great. But don’t act like there are no consequences just because you like fried chicken and definitely don’t silence those who care enough to worry about their neighborhoods. It’s just so rude and honestly, ignorant. I love McDonalds, my husband loves popeyes. We go there sometimes. I feel it’s somewhat hypocritical, and I do try to go mostly to the local places because it is more aligned with my values and who I want my money to go to (local people not big corporations). I’m not going to celebrate Popeye’s coming to the hood as if it some big accomplishment. It’s a big chain trying to make money, a chain that can afford the rent there. Have you ever seen the owner of McDonalds care so much about the appearance of his/her neighborhood that they come out front to sweep? I haven’t. but I have seen many local shop owners do that, and more. That is one of the many ways local businesses affect the neighborhood.

      The comments against “classism” are so disrespectful and crude. Is your argument really that Popeyes won’t “stop the earth from spinning”? That is your definition of a real problem? Do you always mock and tease those who don’t agree with you?

      I don’t think Popeye is the devil. But I live in this neighborhood and I choose to do so with my eyes open, understanding how economic choices affect us and change cost of the neighborhood. No, I am not a Harvard grad. I am very low income, but I read a lot and talk to real people about things that affect our neighborhood.

      And for those of you who keep saying they scour the neighborhood for cheap eats–give me a break. I am truly low income so I know there are hundreds of options for me and my family–from cheap Chinese, to sales at supermarkets, to inexpensive items at the surrounding restaurants. I don’t have the luxury of knowing what a “designer hanger steak” is, let alone how much extra it costs. But I guess that commenter–the one mocking others for their lack of care for the low income folk–does.

      • Sean says:

        Unfortunately the type of local you describe doesn’t exist on the UWS today. You have seniors on fixed incomes who don’t spent. Young professionals with kids who do but not here except for ice cream. Then most of the summer the singles are in The Hamptons. This entire debate is driven by one thing: property values and the resale value of your apartment.

    38. Philip Holtberg says:

      The UWS needs more places like this to fill up all the vacant storefronts. Let’s bring in more Burger Kings, Olive Gardens, Applebees, IHops, and Dominos Pizza! Good cheap food and lots of jobs! Even a Kennedy Fried Chicken or two would work!

    39. Zulu says:

      It appears Popeyes is the new Bike Lanes of the UWS.

    40. ronald shapley says:

      Breaking news from Mayberry

    41. There goes the neighborhood says:

      Wendy’s has just signed a five-year lease where Starbucks was at West 76 Street:Columbus Ave.

    42. Andrew says:

      I’ve lived on the UWS since the 70’s and in the venerable ensuing decades we did just fine living amongst a McD’s and Burger King on Bway/W. 81st and nearby outposts of Chipotle and Pizzeria UNO haven’t since been resented neighbors. I’ve walked by this rising Popeye’s checking progress over past weeks and am thrilled I’m now spared the Via trip down to W. 23rd branch to access the same fare. Cheap eats are rare around now here and I look at each empty store hoping to be gifted additionally with an arriving Taco Bell and Dairy Queen. For the nonce, I’m off to Popeye’s tomorrow for sweet tea and mac&cheese! Together that should come to about a five $pot.

    43. EricaC says:

      I was actually excited about this because I remember their biscuits being amazing. Deadly, but amazing. So I ordered one. And it was anything but amazing. I don’t know whether they’ve changed, or whether my tastes have changed. So disappointed.

    44. UWsider since the year gimmel says:

      I totally agree about the disdain for the mallification of the hood. What I think might help a little is if they didn’t have garish neon signs , which I think give a cheap feel. Two good examples are Chipotle and Pizzeria Uno. I think they blend in better.Maybe if the interior had a cleaner and more upscale look it might help. It doesn’t solve the problem, but I could live with it better, and if they were spaced a few blocks apart. Keep all the neon etc in the Times Square area
      That all this is happening saddens me and is reflected in the book about the vanishing NY.I think he has a blog too. NY is losing some of its uniqueness, and it seems to be accelerating.

      • dannyboy says:

        “Keep all the neon etc in the Times Square area
        That all this is happening saddens me and is reflected in the book about the vanishing NY.I think he has a blog too. NY is losing some of its uniqueness, and it seems to be accelerating.”

        The book is “Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul”.

        Jeremiah Moss has deblogged due to a lack of public interest in preventing “mallification” and crapification.

        And yes, the 42 Street look has decamped and headed uptown.

      • Sean says:

        Malls are dying. Broadway is an avenue. And when there is a cluster of commercial spaces then you have strip mall. Yes 1940s NYC is gone. The Meat Packing district has interesting shops for the rich. There are not enough customers on the UWS to support small businesses because of the price points. No one who works in a shop on the UWS lives there. Things have changed. We don’t have 4 star restaurants on every block. So fast food seems the way to go. 40 years ago when you had working class people up here there was a Philly cheesesteak place where Citarella is and an ice cream shop. There was pizza, Chinese, and roasted chicken on every block. Then the Yuppies came. For how things used to be watch 3 Days of the Condor or The Goodby Girl. Now your neighbors go to The Hamptons for the summer.

    45. Mark Moore says:

      Saw my first Popeye’s litter this morning on the way to the train, a large paper soda cup on 94th and Bway.

      • Sean says:

        Did you bend down and pick it up?

        • UWS_lifer says:

          Sorry that may have been mine.

          See, I have been gorging myself with fried chicken and soda “pop” these last few mornings.

          I think this is going to be my new routine but I’m still figuring it out. Hit Popeye’s, jump on the subway at 96th and during my 20-30 minute ride downtown on the train I can just stuff my face with delicious fried chicken. Nobody seems to mind (and if they do it’s just because they are jealous).

          On another note….over 100 comments on Popeye’s?? I love it!!:)

          • dannyboy says:

            “over 100 comments on Popeye’s??”

            I think it is controversial.

            • UWS_lifer says:

              You think everything is controversial, DannyBoy.

              And sometimes you are actually right.:)

              Try to relax this weekend and enjoy yourself.

            • dannyboy says:

              UWS_lifer,

              Well, I guess I could just adopt an “I don’t care about anyone but me” attitude, but that would sit right.

              I only attend to those situations that are controversial. You know that the smooth-sailing stuff is agreeable to everyone.

              As to my weekend, it’s been great. Fun-filled, relaxing and very satisfying. Thanks for that good wish.

    46. B.B. says:

      People calm down, it’s just a Popeye’s for goodness sake.

      Now if a Denny’s or Cracker Barrel opens on UWS, then could see the outrage. I’d be one of the first patrons, but love me some CB biscuits.