Mission Importers Not Playing Chicken With Pollo Campero
|Good enough to import|
Our sister blog, SFoodie, has written before about the underground dealers of the chain's chicken in the Mission District, driving boxes of the fried chicken up from the franchise in Los Angeles. Well, today we discovered yet another Pollo Campero dealer, Excel courier service at 24th and Alabama Streets, which actually flies the stuff in from Guatemala itself.
Yet owner Leo Gonzalez says he doesn't feel his importation business will be affected one bit by the fact Guatemalans will potentially be able to get their fix on Mission Street.
Gonzalez says that Guatemalan clients tell him that the fried chicken from the Los Angeles franchise "doesn't taste the same. The people prefer it comes from Guatemala. People go to Los Angeles to buy the chicken but they don't like it."
Gonzalez says he takes between 20 and 50 orders from clients each week for a little box with four pieces of fried chicken. The chicken is flown by plane from Guatemala in a refrigerated compartment, then driven from the airport to his shop each Saturday morning in a refrigerated van. The recipients have to come pick it up the same day -- and then only need to heat it up.
The charge for a box of chicken straight from Central America? Between $8 and $10, Gonzalez says -- and he only pockets $1. Basically, he does it to draw more clients, not for the profits. "It's an added service so that more people will come."
Gonzalez -- who is Mexican, though 90 percent of his clients are Guatemalan -- says he's tried the chicken one time to see what all the fuss is about.
"It's good," but he says the price, "seems a little high."
He says, in the end, he suspects the demand for the chicken is less about the taste than "the culture, the tradition," for immigrants far away from their own country's fast food.
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