Pollo d’el Rey, Chamblee GA

One of the older little strip centers on Buford Highway, on the left if you’re going south inside the perimeter, has been home to a Domino’s Pizza – sorry, we’re not allowed to call them that anymore, they’re just Domino’s – for thirty years. Since Buford Highway is constantly changing and evolving, even more than most corridors in Atlanta – at least five of the restaurants that we’ve featured here in the last three years have shuttered, including two announced just this past weekend – we sort of notice when something sticks around that long, especially since even the larger national chains abandon their buildings or knock them down with oddball regularity here.

Plus, I have a remarkable anecdote about this Domino’s that I’d love to tell you one day, off the record. Buy me a ginger ale sometime.

Anyway, heaven only knows how many businesses have come and gone in the spaces next to Domino’s in the last thirty years, but Pollo d’el Rey has stuck around for at least eight and does a booming Saturday night business. The owners seem disinterested in putting money into fixtures, wallpaper, or nice chairs and tables, instead hiring lots of servers for their busy periods. If you’re like us and don’t mind rickety seats and mismatched furniture, then the no-frills place is sure to charm you. And sure, we can be design snobs when the setting’s right, but this should be all about the food, and what they cook here is quite good.

Roasted chicken, called pollo a la brasa, is the most popular meal here. Like many of the Peruvian restaurants in town, it’s served with delivery truck fries that demand to be dipped in an awesome, spicy green aji sauce. The chicken is very good. It’s really juicy and given a nice rub of pepper and seasonings, and possibly some lemon, before going into the oven.

This is the third Peruvian restaurant that we’ve visited in Atlanta, and we’ve seen some Chinese-inspired dishes on the menu at each of them. Chaufa, their version of fried rice, has apparently become a standard entree at lots of these restaurants. Marie ordered this and enjoyed it. Marie orders fried rice at lots of places, you might have noticed.

The food is really good, and the service is attentive. I was a little surprised that they automatically add a 15% gratuity to your check without notice, even for parties of two, but that just made it easier for me to pay for the entire meal with exact change. I still prefer to pay with cash. We didn’t linger; there were people waiting for tables, and this place is so popular with the local Peruvian community, many of whom order a two-liter bottle of Inca Kola for their table and don’t seem to want to leave until the last drop is poured, that it seemed polite to make room for the families who were waiting and get back home to our own.

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!


2 thoughts on “Pollo d’el Rey, Chamblee GA

  1. I wondered when you’d get to this place. I like Peruvian-style chicken a whole lot and think this is much better than Machu Piccu, and their prices are lower, too. Next time, go mid-week when it’s slower and you can probably talk to the owners, who are super-nice.

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