We guess, as the New York Times would say, it’s a tale of two cities. Five-hundred dollar belts and $300 colanders up on Church Street, and Popeye’s Chicken down at Lackawanna Plaza — coming to the real estate formerly occupied by Burger King. A distance of less than half a mile, but two distinct worlds, no?

25 replies on “And He Eats His Spinach”

  1. Popeye’s is great. Its food court stall there is absolutely one reason to visit Willowbrook frequently. But there doesn’t seem to be too much connection with the famous sailor. He’s never used in the chain’s advertising iconography and they also don’t serve spinach.

  2. Hey – we go to Willowbrook strictly for Popeye’s (or Arby’s) too!
    And, though it’s not PC in Montclair to say it, it IS going to be nice to have a traditional fast-food place here. I only wish it was Taco Bell!

  3. Yes, the Times is certainly due for another Montclair “tale of two cities” story. It’s been a few months. As an avid Times reader, it’s almost embarassing how many time Montclair comes up in silly, incidental references. “I was playing basketball in the Montclair YMCA yesterday, and I starting thinking about the Knicks . . .” Hell, I can throw a rock from my front steps and hit the homes of at least three Times writers. Which I’m sure some of my right wing friends would love an opportunity to do.

  4. A thought: perhaps the Popeye the chicken chain has in mind isn’t in fact at all the cartoon sailor, but the somewhat (much) rougher around the edges Faulkner character. Who, if I recall correctly, is supposed to hail from New Orleans, which in turn is the chain’s hq city.

  5. Throwing rocks at Times writers is violent and nasty. Flinging chicken bones from Popeye’s at them, however, that could be fun. And I am amazed that butch and I agree on something (although we part company yet again re Arby’s).

  6. Thanks to Baristanet for bringing up this perhaps touchy subject. I have always thought that Montclair was really like Two Nations (see the Andrew Hacker book of the same name) and that it is oddly dissonant but I love living here. My beloved hometowm is a phenomenon!

  7. I am not a big Arby’s fan anymore, but used to like them. They seem to have declined. Usually when we go to the mall, I get Taco Bell and the gf gets Arby’s. Or we get Popeye’s. Popeye’s is much better than KFC, though I heard KFC is rolling out new stores that are more southern food-ish.
    I’m just glad it’s not McDonald’s.
    Of the 2 worlds in Montclair, I live in the one with Popeye’s! I like it!

  8. Different worlds? More like different ends of a continuum.
    What is different is that Popeyes (and Burger King) are chains. Most restaurants in this town, regardless of price or cuisine, are independent and unique.
    BTW, has anyone tried Smokey’s American BBQ in the South End yet? How does it compare to Indigo Smoke or my personal favorite take out place, Sweet Potato and Pecan?

  9. There’s nothing on the chain’s corporate web site about the origin of its name. So whether it’s from Faulkner or Hackman or even from a dance (the “Popeye”!) that Chubby Checker once sang about is unclear. But the chain is from New Orleans. Yes, most restaurants in Montclair are independent (but not either The Office or Charlie Brown’s). Whether they’re also “unique” is another question entirely.

  10. Is anyone keeping track of all the “two Montclairs” in the NY Times? There was the black Montclair and the white Montclair around the time of the briefly-alleged rape, then there was the MSU-Montclair and the everyone-else-Montclair a few weeks after that. Have there been any others I’ve missed?

  11. Hmmm…maybe we should further divide things up.
    A Gay Montclair and a Straight Montclair??
    A GOP Montclair and a Democrat Montclair (Ok, so the GOP people would get like 2 blocks!)
    A Watercooler Montclair and a Barista Montclair.
    A Breeder Montclair and a Non-Breeder Montclair?
    ?? Others?

  12. A bring-your-own-when-you-eat-out, politically-correct-mothers Montclair and a drunk-slumped-over-the-bar-Montclair?

  13. Popeye’s rules!! Far superior to the crap offered at KFC, if that’s the only fast-food chicken you’re familiar with. I actually think this is a good thing for Baristaville. You’ll see. Mm-mmm.

  14. Popeye’s chicken is much better than KFC, but not nearly as good as Sweet Potato and Pecan’s or Indigo Smoke’s, although I usually eat something other than fried chicken when I am at either one of those places. The Escaveche Fish at SP&P is fantastic. How Popeye compares to Smokey’s American BBQ is still to be determined.

  15. 1. mmmmmm… Popeye’s. I’m already envisioning a chicken and biscuits lunch, a matinee at Roberts Wellmont and then browsing along Bloomfield Ave.
    2. Butch, when your plan is in place, please tell me where the non-breeder section of Montclair will be so that I can live there!

  16. “please tell me where the non-breeder section of Montclair will be so that I can live there!”
    I second that!

  17. i loved the Popeye’s when i attended school in New Orleans (couldn’t quite afford places like Commander’s Palace, so fast food/campus food it was). i also hated it because it didn’t help me avoid the “freshman 15.”
    i remember they had local delicacies as sides (red beans and rice, etouffee, etc.) i’m not sure if that’s just in NO or at all Popeye’s. the chicken was always great too – crispy, minimal grease on your fingers. OK, i’m now officially starving.

  18. I loved Sonic while in Tennessee last summer. The food was great and carhops, well, I didn’t know anyone still had them. Four people ate an enormous amount of food for $16.00….I was shocked!

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