Carrie Rengers

El Pollo Dorado to expand with multiple restaurants

Customers line up at the El Pollo Dorado chicken truck on 21st Street between Main and Waco, where the business also is remodeling a building to open a restaurant.
Customers line up at the El Pollo Dorado chicken truck on 21st Street between Main and Waco, where the business also is remodeling a building to open a restaurant. The Wichita Eagle

Word has been building over the last five years that you gotta try the grilled chicken at the big yellow truck near 21st and Arkansas, the one with the funny cartoon chickens on the side proclaiming that Jesus is king.

It’s now grown so much that El Pollo Dorado is expanding into restaurant space and has several more restaurant deals in the works.

“We want our business to grow,” says Manuel Osorio, who handles operations for owner Adrian Santiago Hernandez.

“That’s our ultimate goal.”

Hernandez, a native of Mexico, says he started the business after he prayed for direction from God. He says he also had a little divine help with the grilled chicken recipe, which he won’t share.

Osorio says he and Hernandez would like at least five El Pollos within two years.

Currently, the business’ truck sits in the parking lot of a former auto dealership at 128 W. 21st St., which is a couple of blocks east of Arkansas.

The space once was a restaurant.

For years, there’s been a small tent that sits in front of the truck and next to a couple of grills that cook the chicken, which is the main thing the business sells.

“We just expanded into more like a seating area-prep area,” Osorio says of a new area closer to the street with covered seating near the grills.

The business also recently began catering.

“We do a lot of catering events now,” Osorio says.

The new restaurant will have a drive-through and seat 20.

The truck will remain as well for to-go orders.

Osorio says he and Hernandez are now looking in Newton and south Wichita near 31st and Hillside for two more restaurant spaces.

“We saw an opportunity to go ahead and expand.”

He says there’s also interest in franchises in Garden City and Kansas City.

“We’re also looking for people who are interested in opening a business.”

Osorio says he and Hernandez will provide tools and training.

El Pollo’s new Wichita restaurant should be ready by July.

Unlike the food truck, it will have set hours, which mostly likely will be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

Though some people have expressed concern about potentially altering El Pollo’s mojo by expanding beyond the truck, Osorio says customer reaction indicates the business is going in the right direction with a restaurant.

“They’re excited.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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