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Is Popeyes chicken cooking up plans for Rochester?

A real estate deal spurred Kiger to consult his Magic 8-Ball to ask if more spicy chicken is cooking in Rochester’s future. The answer? “Signs point to yes.”

Heard on the Street - Jeff Kiger column sig
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Is Cajun Sparkle on the way to the Med City?

A $710,000 real estate deal could be a sign that 2021 might be a good year for Rochester fans of popular fast food chicken chain Popeyes.

Popeyes, which has 12 locations in the Twin Cities area and offers packets of Cajun Sparkle spice with its meals, often makes Rochester’s list of most wanted fast food restaurants.

Rochester Dev, LLC of Edison, N.J., on Dec. 22 purchased almost an acre of open land in the Chateau Circle development, along 55th Street Northwest.

Rochester’s Chateau Circle LLC sold the land at Villa Road and 55th Street Northwest. Olmsted County estimated the total market value of the land at $498,500 for 2020-2021.

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Due to the haziness of corporate information, the identity of Rochester Dev is not completely clear. However, the New Jersey address listed in the real estate sale is the same as a company called Willingboro Chicken, which is involved in fast food chicken restaurants.

The possibility of Popeyes pops up again in the Minnesota incorporation documentation. Rochester Dev’s address is the same as . . . a Minneapolis Popeyes restaurant. Plus the listed manager of Rochester Dev has been involved with opening Minnesota Popeyes restaurants.

Add the fact that the phone number listed on the real estate documents belongs to a Minneapolis attorney who has represented Popeyes in the past, and the prospect for spicy chicken and biscuits in the Med City looks more likely.

There’s no answer yet from the company on this theory. The chain is showing interest in Minnesota beyond the Twin Cities. On New Year's Day, it opened the first out-state Popeyes in St. Cloud.

This could mean that a chicken battle could be cooking in Rochester just as Popeye’s nemesis Chick-fil-A is gearing up to launch a Med City food truck in addition to its Crossroads Shopping Center restaurant. Of course, Rochester also has KFC locations as well as the very popular Porch Fried Chicken, Championship Dining ’s sit-down restaurant on Fourth Street Southeast.

All of this is, of course, an unconfirmed theory. Even if the company or a Popeyes franchisee is lining up land in Rochester, there is no guarantee that a restaurant will be built.

However, when I shake my Magic 8-Ball and ask if more spicy chicken is cooking in Rochester’s future, the answer is, “Signs point to yes.”

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