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A Popeye’s Affair continues years later

My heart broke when Popeye’s bailed from the Pheasant Lane Mall food court decades ago. As a result, I sought counseling and the healing began. It would be years before reconnecting with my former spicy flame.

Fast forward to 2013. As I strolled through McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, my chest fluttered with excitement. Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen was there to repair my heart and soothe my sour mood after leaving too much chicken feed on the tables. I would feast on a three-piece meal with Cajun rice and catch my flight.

Then in 2017, Wendy’s vacated their Daniel Webster Highway building and Popeye’s moved in. What happens in Vegas now happens in Nashua. Living in Windham at the time, I would sneak to the Gate City for any flimsy excuse.

“Barbie, I’m running to Home Depot in Nashua for nails,” I’d fib.

“Don’t they have nails at the Londonderry Home Depot,” she asked? “It’s closer.”

“No, I think they ran out. Be back soon.” And so it went until I ran out of lies. Lady Baba and I moved to Nashua earlier this year so that I could be closer to Popeye’s and load up on Cajun chicken.

Then, Popeye’s ripped the southern cookin’ soul out of my chest. Again. After announcing their phenomenal new chicken sandwich, they unexpectedly ran out due to demand that went viral. I was the jilted lover again. I was devastated in addition to still having 354 mortgage payments left on my house in Popeyeville.

You think I’m nuts? The insane feeding frenzy over the M.I.A. chicken sandwiches lead to an even worse picture of humanity when Popeye’s finally relaunched the sandwich a few weeks ago. There was a fatal stabbing incident at one joint, a customer who allegedly found a joint in his chicken sandwich and a woman who trashed her Mercedes-Benz trying to cut a drive-thru line to get to the window faster. I thought these things only happened on Black Friday with people buying 60-inch color TVs.

After hearing all this and with a keen jonesing to reconnect with Popeye’s, I went to the Nashua location three days after the sammys returned for sale. At 5:15 p.m. on a Wednesday, the drive-thru line snaked around the Daniel Webster Highway parking lot. I managed to score a parking spot and went inside. The line was to the door-about 15 people ahead of me when I heard the exasperated counter person announce, “It’ll be about another 15 minutes.”Nobody left their positions, except me.

Finally, last Tuesday, I claimed a coveted Popeye’s spicy chicken sandwich. I will say it was worth the wait. The other patrons were well-behaved. I grabbed a spork for my side of dirty rice. A spork also makes for a handy weapon in the event a crazed customer is tempted to grab your chow.

I’m praying Popeye’s stays in Nashua. I’m not sure I could convince Barb to move to Nome, Alaska, if necessary. Not even for Home Depot nails.