Popeye#039;s is the shiznit: This fried chicken chain has made its way to Boston

by Beacon Staff • April 18, 2007

But Sandler, who often features prominent product placement in his films, does strike gold in Nicky when he attempts to show demons the power of goodness by way of a certain restaurant.,The most maligned movie in Adam Sandler's canon, Little Nicky, doesn't offer much by way of comedy.

But Sandler, who often features prominent product placement in his films, does strike gold in Nicky when he attempts to show demons the power of goodness by way of a certain restaurant.

In return, one of the hell-spawned creatures proclaims, "Popeye's Chicken is the shiznit."

Until several weeks ago, intrepid believers in the chicken chain had to make the journey to the Westgate Mall in Brockton, while diners limited by the T had to placate their passion for poultry with KFC or, even worse, Boston Burger Express in City Place.

Now Cajun chicken connoisseurs can rejoice: Popeye's recently opened its only Beantown location in Kenmore Square, adjacent to Fenway Park.

Like the stadium's famous franks, Popeye's namesake is its standout culinary achievement. The smell wafts in the area around the modestly sized eatery, and the taste matches its distinctive aroma. Available in both mild and spicy varieties (each in dark or white meat), the liberal layer of deep-fried breading excellently contrasts with the juicy meat underneath.

The chain's full name, however, is "Popeye's Chicken Biscuits," and the latter is just as appetizing. Although the Boston location has not perfected the art of biscuit preparation, the typical restaurant serves a concoction seasoned with salt and saturated with buttery goodness. Once you've experienced a Popeye's biscuit, you'll never be able to deal with the suffocating dryness of KFC's or any Pillsbury pop-ups.

In addition to chicken, Popeye's offers other main dishes inspired by its Cajun heritage, including spicy chicken sandwiches and jambalaya-although the signature item is so satisfying, venturing away from it is not necessary.

The side dishes are hit or miss: the mashed potatoes are covered in a spicy gravy that provides a sufficient bite without being overbearing. The cole slaw and macaroni and cheese, however, are disappointingly bland. Dining companions with more adventurous tongues will enjoy the Cajun staple "dirty rice" (sprinkled with spices and sausage) and the green beans, which come smothered in butter and with hints of bacon flavor.

With its prime location, Popeye's comes at a steep price. Meals here start at $5.99, slightly more expensive than its suburban locations (although you can get a single biscuit for 29 cents, a worthwhile value). The crowded dining room-brightly decorated with sterilized Southern murals-will likely thin out as Popeye's mania slows in Boston, but at the moment, during popular meal times (and during any Red Sox home game), patrons should plan on takeout.

Although Popeye's is best reserved for special occasions-lest you're actively courting an angioplasty-it's refreshing that the Cajun cookery is furthering its expansion into New England.

It's enough reason to put the final nail in Colonel Sanders' creaky coffin`` and get a taste of the Bayou.

Popeye's Chicken Biscuits is located at 645 Beacon St. 617-236-7272. Open daily 10 a.m. - 11 p.m.,Bryan O'Toole