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Popeyes opens to hungry customers, long lines
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen opened a new location in Turlock last weekend after months of anticipation (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

Name of business: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Type of business: Fried chicken fast food chain

Location: 775 N. Golden State Blvd. in Turlock

Hours: 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Sunday

Specialty: Chicken sandwich


History of business:

Several years after the restaurant was first rumored to be headed to Turlock, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen opened its doors in the Turlock Town Center this month. 

Popeyes was originally slated to build a drive-thru location on the corner of Countryside Drive and Tuolumne Road in 2018 next to Farmer Boys, but backed out of those plans and instead settled for a location across town. Located in the Turlock Town Center near Jura’s Pizza Parlor, Popeyes began interior improvements to its current building in the spring of 2020 and opened last weekend to a frenzy of excited customers.

Through various social media posts, Popeyes customers have shared on pages like Turlock To Go on Facebook a wait time of over an hour on some days, with the drive-thru line snaking out of the center, onto Canal Drive and over the train tracks. The wait all depends on what time of day you hop in line and how many others had the same idea as you, of course, but General Manager Vanessa Balero said the newly-assembled Popeyes team is doing all they can to keep up with demand. 

“Sometimes the line goes on and on,” she said, noting that only the drive-thru is available to customers due to COVID. “They’re coming here for the good food, and a lot of customers coming through have a certain energy. They’re excited because it’s something new to Turlock.”

Fast-selling items include the chain’s famous chicken sandwiches, which made national headlines in 2019 due to their popularity and come in two flavors, spicy or original. Chicken tenders are also ordered frequently, Balero said, as well as the restaurant’s Louisiana-inspired sides and desserts, like mashed potatoes or chocolate beignets. 

Popeyes is just the latest addition to the growing Turlock Town Center, which will soon see a new McDonald’s built and the relocation of established favorites like Mundo’s Latin Grill and Green Grub. For Balero, who relocated to Turlock from Fresno in order to manage the restaurant, the new setting is perfect. 

She thanked the community for their patience with the long lines at Popeyes, where employees are still getting the hang of things.

“I’ve never had to jump into a brand-new store and open it myself before,” she said. “It’s exciting. It gets a little backed up, but we just have to apologize and explain that we’re brand new.”