MANHATTAN – Hungry neighbors will have to wait a little longer to get their Louisiana spicy fried chicken fix, as the Upper East Side’s new Popeyes restaurant set to open on Third Avenue delays its grand opening once again— missing the anticipated ‘end of the year’ opening promised by a company spokesperson.
Located between East 88th and 89th Streets, the new fast food spot looks like its ready to go from the outside— aside from the paper covering the windows.
The space, which used to be home to Roma’s Pizza, has been renovated with a wood and brick facade— the front doors painted bright orange to match the block letter sign above the entrance.
A smaller vertical sign features a silhouette of a chicken— just in case you you weren’t sure what the well-known chicken-centric fast food restaurant serves.
Inside the new Popeye’s, its a far different story.
Construction is still underway on the new restaurant. Exclusive photos inside Popeye’s show the main counter has yet to be built and installed, though the menu displays are hung and lit, a closer look shows they are missing the most important detail— the food’s prices.
If you had visited the space when it was previously a pizzeria, you won’t recognize the restaurant— it’s been totally transformed.
Carrying over the theme from the restaurant’s exterior, inside the new Popeye’s you’ll find brick walls painted in the fried chicken purveyor’s colors— white and orange— as well as inviting wood panels.
One wall features a montage of Popeye’s-related terms, while another reads “Famous Louisiana Chicken”— one of the first things a customer sees as the walk through the front door.
If you haven’t been to a Popeye’s restaurant before, its chicken sandwich is the star— in fact, Popeye’s set off the chicken sandwich wars between fast food restaurants when it introduced its sandwich in 2019, drawing big lines and sellouts of the sandwich at many Popeye’s locations.
Popeye’s will join a crowded market for fried-chicken options on the Upper East Side. Just two blocks south, Chick-fil-a’s UES store near the corner of East 86th Street and Third Avenue is perpetually busy, with a line out the door and cars double and triple parked to pickup delivery orders.
There’s also stiff competition from Chicken Insider— an independent restaurant nearby on Second Avenue near East 91st Street— which offers a wide variety of chicken and non-chicken fried foods that are sure to satisfy your craving for a salty crunch.
Popeyes, for its part, tells Upper East Site in a statement, “we are very excited that Popeyes is coming to the Upper East Side. The restaurant is almost ready to serve guests and will be opening in the coming weeks.”