Pollo Tropical, the beloved Florida-based fast-casual eatery, opened its third and fourth Texas locations in Frisco earlier in September. It is a distinctly Caribbean-inspired restaurant, featuring bold and tangy flavors using savory island spices, mixed herbs and citrus. These are blended into rubs and marinades that enhance the flavors of fresh vegetables and pork, beef and Pollo Tropical’s signature chicken dishes.
The restaurants feature a design influenced by tropical blues and greens, island-inspired lighting and plants, limited table service and a convenient drive-thru.
We were invited to the grand opening day at one of the locations, and were treated to complimentary meals. A couple of Pollo Tropical’s signature island-inspired offerings include the menu items we ordered:
• Pollo – fresh, citrus-marinated and grilled over an open flame. You can order a whole grilled chicken for the family, or make a single meal out of a half or quarter chicken platter or enjoy a boneless, skinless pollo.
• Mojo Roast Pork – slow-roasted for four hours in a versatile mojo marinade – a blend of tangy citrus juices, crushed garlic, olive oil and island spices.
Other unique dishes are:
• Plantains – a staple of the Caribbean diet, are cooked to a golden caramelized finish
• Yuca – a root vegetable that’s like a potato with a tropical kick, served boiled or fried and are excellent paired with curry mustard or cilantro garlic sauce
• TropiChops® – bowls with flame-grilled chicken, pork or beef, with a base of rice, mashed potatoes or lettuce, then topped off with choices like beans, corn or sautéed onions an peppers (vegetarian is totally an option here)
And then of course there is Pollo Tropical’s Saucing Island where any dish can be personalized with one of 10 signature sauces, including Curry Mustard, Guava BBQ, Pineapple Rum, Spicy Poyo-Poyo and Cilantro Garlic.
I was also able to ask Sandra Pascual, Director of Marketing for Pollo Tropical some questions about Pollo Tropical:
Can you describe what goes into ordering the food for a day or week for a typical Pollo Tropical location? How do you ensure that the food you prepare is fresh?
Food quality is very important to us at Pollo Tropical. We bring in fresh, whole chickens each week that we marinate in our proprietary blend of tropical fruit juices and spices on-site, then grill to perfection and cut into serving pieces. We also make our black and red beans fresh in stores, and keep them simmering on the stove throughout the day, to serve with our freshly made white, yellow and brown rice.
How do you keep the communication lines open between your customers and your local restaurants & head office? What kind of feedback do you like to hear from your customers?
We like to hear from our customers whenever we can and we are very active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We encourage our customers to share their experiences with us and of course, we love to hear about when they’ve had great meal and encountered outstanding service. Of course, we also want to know if there’s something we could do better.
How do you keep your customers coming back?
We offer consistently delicious, authentic Caribbean cuisine at a great value that you can’t find anywhere else and we offer a wide variety of menu items that you can feel good about eating, and you can try something different every time so it never gets boring. Our menu includes platters, Create Your OwnTropiChops®, sandwiches, salads, wraps and family meals — not only with our signature bone-in chicken, but also with boneless, skinless grilled chicken breast, Mojo Roast Pork, Grilled Tropical Wings and Calypso Beef . You can customize meals for even more variety with our Saucing Island, featuring 10 signature sauces, including Curry Mustard, Guava BBQ, Pineapple Rum and Cilantro Garlic.
What are the long-term goals of Pollo Tropical in the DFW area?
We just opened two locations in Frisco and we plan to open three additional restaurants by the end of the year, including locations in Allen, Denton and Fort Worth. And there are several openings slated for early 2015. We definitely want to become a go-to for anyone who wants delicious meals they can feel better about eating.
My husband and I really enjoyed our meal. He had the quarter chicken and really, really liked it. It had to be good because the words “Caribbean Inspired” scared him. But it just goes to show you that Pollo Tropical has something for everyone, even those who ‘can’t stand the heat,’ lol! I had the Mojo Roast Pork Sandwich and added some of the Guava BBQ sauce…which I refilled at the Saucing Island, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t scoop every last drop out with my finger…because I totally did!
Guests can get a coupon for either a buy one, get one free quarter chicken with two sides or $3 off a family meal by signing up for the Pollo Reward$® loyalty program. Right now Pollo Tropical has locations in the states of Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas, so if you are in any of those areas be sure to look for the tropical blue sign and the palm trees to get a great fast-casual meal, at an affordable price.