Food & Drink

Want to get Popeyes’ new chicken sandwich in Sacramento? Good luck with that

It’s been days since the national obsession with Popeyes’ new chicken sandwich began, and Sacramento residents are still having trouble buying the coveted cuisine.

Early in the past week, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, a fried chicken fast food chain, introduced the new product: a fried chicken fillet, topped with pickles, the customer’s choice of either spicy Cajun or mayonnaise sauce, tucked between brioche buns.

Since its introduction, the sandwich has overtaken Twitter feeds and Instagram stories, with many people and news outlets rating it as better than Chick-fil-A’s sandwiches.

The craze continues to stir in Sacramento.

On Saturday, many local franchises appeared to have sold out by the afternoon.

Joel Stern, a resident of Woodland, said that when he went to the closest Popeyes store in Dixon at around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, he met Sacramento residents who told him Sacramento stores were sold out.

Stern said that at the Dixon store, all the employees, were scrambling to serve the customers — a surprising sight to him given that Popeyes, in his recent experience, has not been a frequented chain.

“The Popeyes in Woodland closed down because it wasn’t a popular fast food restaurant, and so I can see how the franchises would now be overwhelmed,” Stern said.

Isaac Elias, a resident of Pleasanton, visited Sacramento on Saturday and tried to buy the chicken sandwich at the Valley Hi-North Laguna location.

Popeyes Valley Hi-North Laguna
A note posted on the window of the Valley Hi-North Laguna Popeyes store Isaac Elias

Elias unfortunately arrived at 2:15 pm.

“It seems like each location is just coping in different ways,” he said. “Some are selling (the sandwiches) as fast as they can, some are rationing.”

The Popeyes franchise in Arden Arcade had sold out by Saturday night, according to a handwritten note posted on its window.

Popeyes Arden Arcade store
A handwritten note posted on the window of the Arden Arcade Popeyes store Daniel Hunt

At noon Sunday, a line of cars for the drive-thru wrapped around the store and into the parking lot. Inside, every table was seated, but no tables had any food on them.

A crowd of people waited at the counter, many saying that had been waiting over an hour.

Sue Cristoni stood behind the crowd. A long-time patron of the franchise, the 74-year-old said she wasn’t aware of the new sandwich.

“I come once a week, at least twice a week,” she said. “I’m addicted to their tenders.”

She had been waiting for over 40 minutes.

Alex Greene, a Door Dash deliverer waiting to retrieve the order she was meant to help deliver, said she was frustrated by how long the sandwiches were taking: “To be honest, I wouldn’t come. I’m not waiting an hour for a sandwich.

“I used to work at Burger King,” she said. “When they brought the chicken fries back, it was like this.”

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Elaine Chen, from the University of Chicago, is a local news reporter for The Sacramento Bee. She grew up in the Bay Area and later in Beijing, China.