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TLO Restaurant Review: ¡Viva Pollo Campero!

9:57 AM EDT on May 11, 2023

Growing up in South Texas, across the borderline is an absolute glut of alternative fast-food chains compassing a brave new world, a better world…a delicious world.

Forget KFC, Popeye’s, or Chick-Fil-A…for fast-food chicken, it’s got to be Pollo Campero for me.

Started in Guatemala but headquartered in Dallas, I always loved the artistry of their char-grilled cooking techniques, but they have finger-licking good fried options too, if that’s what you’re after. Something for everyone!

With the smart franchising of the Pollo Campero name and product, they recently added Yukon to their roster this month, but my place is located at 1414 N.W. 23rd St. in Oklahoma City.

After being away for the past year, I recently went by one afternoon last week while the place was buzzing with lunch orders.

After a few minutes of impatiently waiting, I started with the old standby standalone: the classic Chicken Empanada ($2.75), featuring “freshly pulled” chicken, roasted corn, peppers, onions, and Monterey cheese, paired with a smoky Campero sauce.

Always a mainstay in my queso-covered heart, this is a wonderful remembrance of good times. In the past, I preferred my empanadas with mostly cheese filling, but here, it was good enough for me with the roasted corn and peppers, creating a very flavorful duo that was immediately recognizable with the chicken.

(And please, we can talk about the tasty Campero sauce? Send me a barrel of this immediately for all dip-worthy interactions!)

Next up, we had the traditional Campero. It’s a 3 Piece Meal ($9.25), with off-the-grill chicken— a breast, a wing, and a leg—as well as an added side of amazing yuca fries, by God. (My only complaint, to be sure, is that a couple of rubbery tortillas on the side are very disappointing.)

Besides that, without fail, the grilled chicken is more than incredible!

With so many fast-food places around not offering non-fried vittles, at Pollo Campero, the grilled chicken is king! Every bite of juicy chicken was royally profound, but if I am truly honest, the oversized yuca fries were the absolute bomb—I could eat this every day of my life and truly be happy, I think.

Filled to the brim, I packed my leftovers, with my lone order—the Campero Bowl ($12.00)—on the back burner for dinner that night.

A few hours later, instead of the regular tracks, the Campero Bowl here had been radically “remixed” into a slightly healthier meal, a bowl filled with the Campero rice, the Campero beans, spring mix of greens, roasted corn and peppers, pico de gallo, smashed avocado, and the slight bit of feta cheese, for flavor.   

And, of course, it was incredible.

Sure, I got the fried chicken instead of the grilled accidentally, but all the best parts of Campero’s menu are recycled into a more dietary-manageable take without sacrificing the big taste and the big calories. And, really, that’s something that all of us could take.

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Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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