I'm the last one to write respectful words about fast food chain restaurants, except maybe Chipotle on a charitable day. But I revisited Pollo Tropical yesterday, sampling new foods within the company's revamped decor. Honestly, I liked what I ate. Give Pollo Tropical another try.
After testing out a new design concept in Texas, Pollo Tropical has decided to revamp all of its Central Florida restaurants. The new decor is fresh with scrumptious tropical colors like aqua and tangerine, plus loads of sunlight pouring in. I'd have more pictures but the publicists forgot to include the promised images in the media kit at a recent event. I hadn't taken more since I'd been expecting a packet. But the photos above and below will give you an idea.
Service will be what the industry calls fast-casual: Customers order at the counter then take a seat, and the food is served to them. Instead of disposable plates, the refreshed restaurants use colorful plastic ones. Servers refill drinks and fetch additional salsas during your meal. The first two units in the area are in Kissimmee and Lake Buena Vista.
I found only one flaw with the design: I couldn't figure out that the salsa bar is the salsa bar. A colleague and I, waiting for the media luncheon to begin, keep staring at the sign, debating. "It says Samsing Island." "No, maybe it's Sansing." "Samsung?" "No, that's an 'i' after the 'c'." We asked. "Saucing Island" it is.
The crux of the menu remains flame-grilled, citrus-marinated chicken with crisp skin, and mojo-laced pulled pork.
But, aiming to keep up with what she calls trends, Executive Chef Jacqueline Kleis has added a Tropical Lite section. Each of five dishes has chicken with something--maybe salad, or soup, or brown rice with veggies--and comes in at 510 calories or under, and at $6.19 or under. "Value pricing," she assured us, will remain. The Citrus Chicken Salad with mango-poppyseed dressing was topped with sliced salmonds. It's a respectable choice for a fast food meal. Another newbie is sliced roast pork with mango/honey/mustard sauce.
I'll be eating at Pollo Tropical again. I urge you to give it a try.