Pollo Campero Rules The Roost
If you ask for it, Pollo Campero will come.
Pollo Campero Regional Manager Ana Epps said consumer demand in nearby restaurants for a new Huntington Station location got their attention, and they followed through on that clamor when they opened on New York Avenue in mid-December. Their feedback was right – the dining room was already filling up minutes after 11 a.m. during a recent visit.
“When we came, the reaction we got was fantastic – the line was ongoing,” she said. “It’s great – it’s been non-stop.”
Pollo Campero got its start in Guatemala in 1971 as a family-owned chain of Latin American restaurants. They made their way through Central America before making their American debut in California in 2000. Today, there’s more than 400 Pollo Camperos worldwide, with more than 50 in the U.S.
As you might guess by the name (Pollo Campero is Spanish for “country chicken”) their menu focuses on chicken – Campero fried and citrus grilled, as well as chicken strips, chicken bowls, and empanadas.
In America, it’s a hybrid fast food/sit-down experience – order at the counter, take a number, take a seat and the friendly staff will bring your meal to your table with plates and silverware.
Empanadas ($6.99 for 3 with a classic side) are light and crisp on the outside but soft, savory and a little spicy on the inside, stuffed with herbs, spices and Campero fried chicken. Crispy hand-battered chicken strips ($5.99 for 3 and a classic side; $7.99 for 5 and a classic side) are another satisfying choice.
However, the full chicken – either fried or grilled – is where it’s really at. Pollo Campero’s fried chicken ($5.19-$7.19 for personal meal) is just about perfect, and that’s probably why they haven’t changed the recipe since launching in 1971. Covered in a slightly-spicy batter, the plump poultry is fried until crispy outside and juicy, tender and delicious. For those seeking some lighter fare, their citrus grilled chicken ($5.39-$7.99 for a personal meal) is equally enjoyable – never dry, full of zesty lime flavor and boasting an enticing citrus aroma thanks to flavor injection and 24 hours of marinating.
Each personal meal comes with a choice of a classic side, including traditional black beans, Campero beans (a blend of slow-cooked pinto beans simmered with smoked bacon, chorizo, onions, garlic, tomatoes and jalapenos), classic Campero rice, French fries, cole slaw and mashed potatoes ($2.09 regular/$3.99 family size on their own). A pro tip from Anna – blend the traditional chopped slaw and Campero rice and enjoy them together.
You’ll notice that their cole slaw is cool, crisp and not sweet – that’s by design, and a nod to traditional Latin recipes. Branch out to some signature sides like soft, fluffy Yuca fries and sweet roasted plantains ($2.39 regular, $4.39 family-style).
With a fast start already under their belt and growing crossover success, we expect Pollo Campero to be a fixture in Huntington Station for years to come as they bring Latin flavor to new customers here.