You may recall an incident in Long Beach, California from two years ago, in which a Yelp review publicly called out local restaurant Sweet Dixie Kitchen for selling Popeyes chicken as its own product, without disclosing to diners that this was the case. At the time, restaurant owner Kimberly Sanchez both acknowledged and upheld the practice, responding to the review by declaring that “We PROUDLY SERVE Popeyes spicy tenders - the best fried chicken anywhere and from New Orleans - which are delivered twice a day.” Sanchez would continue to defend the restaurant’s choices, and even sold some merch along the way.
But to err is human, and to forgive is Popeyes. In the spirit of goodwill and redemption, the chicken chain (which is hardly ever shy about employing a bit of gimmickry in its own right) has partnered with Sweet Dixie Chicken for an early debut of its new chicken sandwich, a few days ahead of its nationwide release on August 12. Through today, August 9, fans at the now-infamous restaurant can try the new boneless buttermilk-battered filet on brioche, with pickles and mayo or spicy Cajun sauce.
Even in the press release, Sanchez admits that “To be honest, I thought they were calling to sue me,” but this latest bit of branding carries a general tone of bemusement throughout.
Curiously, while Sanchez is a central figure in the latest Popeyes campaign, a Long Beach Post journalist who initially broke the story now reports that she’s transferring ownership of Sweet Dixie Kitchen in mid-August, and a recent post on the restaurant’s Instagram seems to suggest the same. Whatever you might think of Sanchez’s loose interpretations of the phrase “locally-sourced food,” The Takeout tips its hat to Popeyes for being a much better sport about all this than it had to be.