Just a mere two weeks before the Mayan apocalypse, I've found my hands-down, close-the-door-and-go-home, it's all over, favorite meal. Ever. Of all time.
El Pollo Regio is a mid-sized chain fast-food restaurant originally out of Monterrey, Mexico, that specializes in "open flame-grilled chicken." The first Texas restaurant opened in 1995 and there are more than 10 Dallas-area locations now.
I'm not sure how to even start with describing the chicken experience at Pollo Regio. This is the kind of meal I could eat five days a week. It's fresh, fragrant, amazingly tasty, not too unhealthy, cheap and satisfies my desire to eat tacos every day.
Number 16 on the menu, el medio pollo (half chicken), comes with four pieces of chicken (one white, three dark) and is served with rice, charro beans (frijoles charros), half a grilled onion and four tortillas.
Service is very quick and what you need to do before you sit down is get to know and love the salsa bar. For rookies, just get a little of everything. The cashier told me the creamy green salsa is their most popular and they sell it in bulk. It resembles the green sauce at Ninfa's.
There are two types of pickled onions on the condiment bar, several salsas, jalapeños, pico de gallo and an pink-ish sauce that I didn't try, but two girls who were sharing this exact meal got about four cups of it and jazzed it up with peppers and cilantro.
The medio pollo is enough for at least two. I made a big taco (photo below) and ate some of the beans and was pleasantly full, but there was a still an entire huge meal left.
That evening the family
finished devoured the rest of the meal. (Party tip: To reheat the chicken, put in a skillet, on low heat and put three tortillas like a tent over the chicken to capture the moisture. Be patient. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. Please, don't disgrace us all and throw it in the microwave.)
Let my napkins tell the story of this hot, juicy and wonderful mess.
I'm glad you're still with me because this is the greatest part of the meal. The pollo medio cost just $7.57, and that included a drink. Disclaimer, on the menu it's $8.50, so I don't know how that worked out. Maybe it was a lunch special.
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A friend who has been singing the praises of this place told me about the baked potato with fajita meat. I snapped a picture of a 'papa pollo' someone had ordered; the cashier told me sometimes the potatoes are much larger and that the beef fajita is a their most popular.
At one table, two women had a plate of enchiladas and flautas. And a guy eating by himself had a huge bowl of soup. I will slowly and deliberately work my way through the entire menu. But as far as a standard, great, cheap meal, me and the medio pollo are besties.
The Pollo Regio website is promoting a family deal: 2 whole chickens (16 pieces), 2 orders of rice, beans, tortillas and salsa for $23.99. I don't think anyone can beat that deal anywhere ever. Ballgame. Go home (after you hit Pollo Regio).