El Pollo Loco Demonstrates ‘Theater of Chicken’ in New York City

El Pollo Loco’s proprietary chicken recipe is the star of the show in the restaurant’s new hacienda layout
El Pollo Loco Demonstrates ‘Theater of Chicken’ in New York City

Aurelie Jouan

In the ‘theater of chicken,’ customers get to watch El Pollo Loco’s Grill Masters prepare the fire-grilled chicken. 

This week, a few lucky New Yorkers had the chance to taste the menu at El Pollo Loco, the West Coast chain that began as a single restaurant in Los Angeles in 1980. The chain has since expanded to more than 400 locations.

Last year, the company introduced the Hacienda layout redesign, a new look that allows customers to get a sense of El Pollo Loco’s “theater of chicken,” where the open kitchen highlights the restaurant’s signature low and slow fire-grilling method.

At El Pollo Loco’s “Crazy You Can Taste-ing” this week, executive chef Heather Gardea treated guests to their first-ever taste of El Pollo Loco’s bone-in, citrus-marinated grilled chicken, which gets grilled for an hour by Grill Masters on custom-made grills that span 20 feet.

Also on the menu were samples of El Pollo Loco’s handmade guacamole and pico de gallo and a selection of new items: chipotle-marinated shrimp tacos, carne asada quesadillas, and the skinny chicken quesadilla, which is under 500 calories. The evening featured the "Loco Cocktail," a signature citrus hibiscus margarita. 

For now, however, the company is only on the West Coast, with the majority of its locations in California. The chain has also opened locations in Arizona, Nevada, Texas, and Utah in a contiguous-state expansion plan. That still leaves a lot of states until the East Coast, but trust us, it’s on their radar.

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