El Pollo Dorado, Marietta GA (take two)

When I first visited El Pollo Dorado almost two years back, that got the gears in my head turning about the repurposed 1969-74 Shrimp Boats buildings, but I didn’t really start thinking about them until I went home that evening. So I figured I should probably go back by sometime and get another look or two at this particular building.

El Pollo Dorado recently opened a second location in Lithia Springs, and they grill rotisserie chicken very well here. However, honesty compels me to say that outside of the excellent chicken and hot sauce, there’s not a lot that I enjoyed on this visit. I decided to splurge and order the nachos and a tostada. They gave me a whole freaking pile of food, way more than I was expecting, but everything except the chicken was of the frozen delivery-truck variety. The girlchild enjoyed some unexpected leftovers when she got back from school.

I get that the business thrives on big portions for big takeout orders, but the experience would be so much more enjoyable with smaller portions of better food. Chicken this good – and, to be clear, it really is delicious – deserves better. Next time I’m in the area, I’ll have a quarter chicken and I know that I’ll enjoy that more.

Moving onto the building itself, since the Shrimp Boats closed, this site has been home to at least two restaurants (Eddie’s Steaks and Super Burrito), a video arcade (Pinball Palace, 1979-85), and a bar (Pew & Brew, 1985-87)*. El Pollo Dorado’s twelve years in operation might be the longest that any business has had here.

Almost all of the nautical-themed extras have long vanished from the property. There are no pier posts anymore and no ropes. The street sign is still somewhat intact, with both the large top sign, and the smaller one that once held the “treasure of eating pleasure” logo.

The Powder Springs-Sandtown intersection really is a fascinating study in old fast food architecture “not fooling anybody” in providing homes for new businesses. Apart from this Shrimp Boats, almost every business here is working from the shell of something that you can recognize: a “Home of the Whopper” Burger King, a Dunkin Donuts, a Pizza Hut, a Dairy Queen, a Waffle House, a Golden Gallon Milk Jug, and a couple more, all housing other things these days.

I always like seeing the sloppy brickwork whenever a restaurant shuts away the old drive-through window. Guilty pleasure, sure, but I also wonder which of the former occupants bricked it up.

Previously in the Shrimp Boat series:
Overview and Milledgeville GA location
Monterrey (former Buford Hwy, Doraville GA location)
Durham NC location
Gastonia NC location
Rome GA location
Patrick’s Sub Shop (former Collier Rd, Atlanta GA location)
Instaloan (former Lawrenceville Hwy, Decatur GA location)
Ming’s Chinese Restaurant (former Valdosta GA location)
Lancaster SC location
Rock Hill SC locations

You can see all the restaurants that we have visited for our blog on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s a terrific resource for anybody planning a road trip through the southeast!

*Thanks to Jamie Mullinax for the additional information.