When Popeyes first opened in a New Orleans suburb in 1972, it wasn't exactly an instant hit. Known back then as Chicken on the Run, it experienced several months of lackluster sales. Not ready to give up, founder Alvin Copeland Sr. changed his recipe from traditional southern fried chicken to the native spicy New Orleans?style chicken. He then gave his eatery a similarly spicy new moniker: Popeyes, named after "Popeye" Doyle, the hardboiled detective in the hit movie The French Connection.
A little more than a decade later, the popular chain had opened its 500th restaurant, expanded to Canada, and added its fluffy buttermilk biscuits to the menu. It also introduced the country to crawfish, which?much like draping beads over everything from trees to the local alligator population?had been beloved by Louisianans for decades.
Nowadays, patrons can dig into the Louisiana favorites that made Popeyes famous, including breaded seafood, po' boys, and sides like mashed potatoes and red beans and rice. Of course, the main event is still spicy or mild chicken that marinates for 12 hours before being hand-battered, hand-breaded, and fried.
Jing Yang grew up in China, training to compete in the world's most elite gymnastics competitions since she was five years old. Her lifetime of hard work paid off: she joined the National Women's Gymnastic Team of China, tumbled her way around the globe, and even won a bronze medal in the 1988 Olympics. When she retired from active competition, she still wanted to be involved in her sport. So, she began coaching the Women's Gymnastics Team of Beijing while attending the College of Athletics and Kinesiology to pursue a degree in coaching. Eventually she moved to the United States, bringing her expertise with her to found Jing's Gymnastics, Cheer, and Dance. As the head coach and owner of the gym, she maintains her commitment to elite competition, using the latest equipment to help young gymnasts participate in national, international, and soon interplanetary competitions.
Though the burger patties at Gridiron Burgers are made with a hearty 12 ounces of ground chuck, and are the favorite burgers of WILD 104, they're not the star of the menu. Instead, the focus is on the chefs' innovative toppings. Their specialty is using those toppings to mimic other classic dishes?they pile burgers with mozzarella and pepperoni to emulate pizza flavors, or create an entire Frito pie between two buns, complete with chili and melted cheddar cheese. This culinary playfulness even extends to the shop's non-beef burgers, which include catfish burgers and buffalo chicken burgers. To complete meals, chefs fry up traditional sides such as chili cheese fries, fried pickles, and fried silverware and napkins.
Google, Safari, and PowerPoint all share something special: a place on the sushi menu at Otto Sushi & Seafood. At least, they inspire some of the tongue-in-cheek rolls that chefs create there. The Google roll hugs avocado and fried shrimp inside fried rice; the Safari roll is composed of crab, avocado, and cream cheese; and the PowerPoint roll includes asparagus, cheese, and fried fish in soy paper with squid salad on top. The rolls represent the Japanese portion of the menu, but chefs also pay homage to Mexico and America through cooked seafood plates—try the spicy à la diabla fish or shrimp for a taste.