We don’t really want to get into the whole Taco Bell fake vs. real meat debate, but the pending lawsuit against the fast food company made us take an informal poll of our Facebook fans to see what Latin fast food chains they love.
Here are the results. Tell us if we forgot any and let us know if you like these chains too!
Chain: El Pollo Loco
Locations: California, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Missouri, Oregon, Utah and Virginia.
Yum Factor: Founded in Guasave, Mexico in 1975, this fast food chain is well known as the nation’s leading quick service restaurant chain specializing in flame grilled chicken. El Pollo Loco is famous for its “award-winning” pollo, which is fresh grilled chicken marinated in their special sauce, a recipe that has been passed down the through the founding family.
Fun Fact: El Pollo Loco has been named “Best Chicken Place” by The Orange County Register Readers for six consecutive years.
1. Eat This: Pollo Loco
2. Eat This: Baja Fresh
Locations: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mexico, Michigan, New York, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington DC, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming
Yum Factor: Baja Fresh opened its first restaurant featuring fresh, traditional, grilled Mexican dishes in August 1990. The chain is known for its unique cooking style that blends grilled and traditional Mexican dishes. And if you’re a big eater you should know that Baja Fresh serves generous portions at very cheap prices.
Fun Fact: Baja Fresh doesn’t settle for processed and pre-heated foods. That means no can foods, no frozen foods and absolutely no microwaves! So when they say fresh, they mean business!
3. Eat This: Pollo Tropical
Chain: Pollo Tropical
Locations: Florida, Northeast Region, Puerto Rico, Honduras and Ecuador
Yum Factor: This delicious Caribbean fast food chain began in Miami back in the 1980’s and quickly spread to Puerto Rico where it flourished. Pollo Tropical is perfect for a quick meal that tastes just like Abuelita used to make (ok, well almost).
Fun Fact: Pollo Tropical holds a Guinness World Record for the largest bowl of black beans and rice ever made, which they whipped up for Super Bowl XXIX.
4. Eat This: Chipotle
Locations: There are restaurants in 38 states as well as in Canada and London.
Yum Factor: This chain of Mexican fast-casual dining is well known for its efforts to use organic ingredients including more naturally raised meat than any other restaurant. People love Chipotle for their large burritos and assembly line style serving.
Fun Fact: Founder Steve Ells opened the first Chipotle at a former Dolly Madison ice cream parlor using an $85,000 loan from his father.
5. Eat This: Pollo Campero
Chain: Pollo Campero
Locations: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington DC, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua
Yum Factor: The first Pollo Campero opened up in Latin America in 1971—started by the Gutierrez family. Their goal was to serve the best chicken possible. Pollo Campero, unlike most fast food chains, hand-prepares their chicken every day and seasons it with their special herbs and spices.
Fun Fact: When Pollo Campero first began, Latinos were so in love with the intense Latin flavor they would bring their Campero chicken with them whenever they traveled to the US.
6. Eat This: King Taco
Chain: King Taco
Yum Factor: We all have a favorite taco truck so it is hard to pick just one. King Taco first operated from a converted ice cream truck back in 1974. This Mexican fast food favorite serves a wide variety of authentic Mexican dishes and is popular for its success in using fresh ingredients and consistent quality.
Fun Fact: King Taco plays a huge role in its responsibility to the community by assisting civic organizations, providing support to organizations that attend to the needy and the homeless, and funding organizations that provide assistance to children with cancer, HIV and AIDS.