South County residents seeking an alternative to burgers and fries now have another choice with the opening Monday of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in Anderson.
The restaurant features quick-service chicken and seafood meals or snacks with the distinctive flavors of Cajun-style spices and side dishes.
Indoor and drive-through service started 10 a.m. Monday at the Anderson Popeyes, located at 3088 McMurray Drive next door to Anderson Walk-In Medical Clinic and across the street from Rite Aide.
NorCal Cajun Foods Inc. of Concord is the franchisee bringing the nation’s No. 2 quick-service Louisiana cuisine to Shasta County after refurbishing three former Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurants in Anderson and Redding along with five other northern California locations, explained Jerome Patterson, district manager for the company.
“The Anderson store actually came out really nice. We have hired close to 50 employees from the local area and about half of those jobs will be full-time shift work,” Patterson said during a telephone interview Friday.
The 3,774-square-foot building has indoor seating for up to 104 patrons with tables that meet building code requirements for disabled persons, said Marty Mofield, building inspector for the City of Anderson.
NorCal Cajun Foods spent $189,000 remodeling the interior and upgrading the kitchen area to meet
“Danielle Watts will be our Anderson store manager. She has been training our new employees here in the store for two weeks and for several weeks before that at our restaurants in Oroville, Chico and Marysville,” Patterson said.
Finishing up the nearly $200,000 reconstruction project for Anderson’s Popeyes as well as overseeing similar projects at two future Popeyes locations in Redding — one on Cypress Avenue and the other on Lake Boulevard — has kept Hal Robinson of Palo Cedro, project superintendent for Miller Pacific Construction Inc., and his crews busy for several months now.
“We’re looking at opening up the Lake Boulevard Popeyes in four to six weeks and the Cypress Avenue location in six to eight weeks time,” Patterson said.
NorCal Cajun Foods is spending approximately the same amount per store at 14 northern California stores, he said.
Those stores were purchased by America’s Favorite Chicken (AFC) Enterprises Inc. of Atlanta, a franchisor and operator of Popeyes as well as Church’s chicken restaurants in North America when Wagstaff Management Corp. in Boise, Idaho, filed for bankruptcy in November 2012 and was forced to sell 28 of its KFC stores, 14 in California and another 14 in Minnesota.
When the Anderson KFC closed, approximately 20 employees were left without jobs.
But those jobs and more were replaced when Popeyes started hiring several months ago in anticipation of Monday’s opening.
“We’re definitely ready to open,” Patterson said.
“We’ll be open from 10 a.m. to midnight seven days a week at our drive-through window and we offer inside seating until 11 p.m. each night, Patterson added.
Digital menu boards and a futuristic Coca-Cola self-service dispenser that offers nearly 150 flavors of carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks including eight flavors of Gatorade, seven flavors of Classic Coke and six flavors of Coke Zero, to name just a few.
The Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen concept was launched in 1972 by Alvin C. Copeland Sr. in a suburb of New Orleans.
The restaurant was named after Detective Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle, a fictional hard-charging narcotics cop portrayed by actor Gene Hackman in the films The French Connection (1971) and its sequel French Connection II (1975).
Hackman, a San Bernardino, Calif., native, won the Academy of Motion Pictures award for Best Actor in 1972 for his performance in The French Connection.
Now retired, Hackman based his on-screen character, in part, on the real-life adventures of New York City police detective Eddie Egan, who also appeared in the film as Walt Simonson, Popeye’s supervisor.
The Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurants are promoting Zatarain’s rice and butterflied shrimp with lemon garlic sauce this month with eight shrimp, regular fries and a buttermilk biscuit all for $4.99, Patterson said.
The meal can also be ordered with additional sides of red beans and rice, green beans, mashed potatoes, cole slaw or Cajun fries, he noted.
“But my favorite dish on the menu are the tenders,” Patterson said, adding, that coming soon will be a new item he called waffle tenders.
Popeyes also features a complete line of Louisiana Leaux healthy meals with “naked chicken” tenders in both family and kids meal sizes, he said.
According to the AFC Enterprises Inc. Web site, the Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen chain in 2011 opened its 2,000th outlet.
During 2012, the Popeyes chain opened 141 new restaurants and reported total franchise revenues of $110.5 million, total revenues of $178.8 million and net income of $30.4 million from a total of 2,104 stores.