Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen HawaiiRestaurant Insider
November 10, 2019
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
ANNE LEE speaks with president SEAN UEZU and vice president LORI UEZU
Spanning throughout Oahu with six locations — on Dillingham Boulevard, Navy Exchange Mall, Waipahu, Kapahulu, Mililani and Pearl City — Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Hawaii always has a convenient location nearby for customers to fill up on their favorite craving-curbing foods.
Locally, the company leaders are president Sean Uezu and vice president Lori Uezu. Sean wears multiple hats including marketing, while Lori oversees day-to-day operations with the company’s director of operations, Robin Yamaguchi, to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Popeyes has been in Hawaii for 40 years as a locally run restaurant now being proudly led by the third generation of this kamaaina business. It all started with family patriarch Kal Uezu, who acquired the franchise directly from the founder of Popeyes, the late Al Copeland. Kal originally worked as a chicken farmer in Hawaii and when he heard that Popeyes made the best fried chicken, he decided to invest in the franchise.
The Uezus dive into greater detail about the restaurants here:
AL: Who is the head chef?
SU AND LU: Amy Alarcon — Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen’s head chef. She creates all the recipes, and also created the highly coveted Chicken Sandwich that will we will be releasing on Nov 17. This chicken sandwich took 18 months of development. This chicken sandwich is unique because of the high quality ingredients. It’s an expensive product for us. They specially source the pickles and breading, and we use the same high-quality chicken that we use for all of the poultry products that we make. And a special custom-made brioche bun. It’s the simplicity of the ingredients and the quality that allows all of the visual flavors to shine through. This creates a very delicious sandwich. It’s priced at $5.99. To have the consistency of the Popeyes’ brand, whether you enjoy Popeyes here or on the mainland, we do have a corporate chef that oversees the recipes and product development. Everything is monitored direct and each franchise location is graded on those standards. Popeye’s takes food standards very seriously.
AL: Why does Popeyes stand out from other fried chicken?
SU AND LU: We like to say that we cook slowly and serve quickly. That is our motto. Our chicken is marinated at least 12 hours. It comes us to us fresh and we hand-batter everything. We fry it and take about 20 minutes to cook a batch of chicken. It’s served hot and fresh.
We are cooking in smaller batches. We rotate the product quickly.
AL: What does Popeyes bring to the Hawaii food scene?
SU AND LU: People in Hawaii love their chicken, fried chicken in particular. In Hawaii, locals love their spicy food. We are proud to say that we have a spicy crispy crunchy product. We also have a not-so-hot option — mild offering so we offer options for taste buds. Our food is very soulful, with a lot of flavor. We always try to offer promos monthly that we offer in the newspaper, MidWeek. We are happy to customize with mixing mild and hot varieties, depending on your family’s preference, you can even do more breasts than drumstick! We have amazing sides that complement the chicken.
Just ‘wing’ it
In honor of National Fast Food Day on Nov. 16, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Hawaii will serve up a bonafide hot deal of a promotion — offering 20 pieces of its delicious Boneless Wings for $9.
This mouthwatering order features tender white meat boneless wings marinated in a blend of spicy and mild seasonings. It is about half the heat of Popeyes spicy bone-in chicken or spicy tenders.