Houston, We Have a Pollo!

What do you get when get several local food bloggers together to try foods from a coming-soon-to-Houston restaurant? You get a bunch of people who take lots of pictures, chat a lot about blogging, and roll out of their lunchtime ridiculously full. I’ve been following roughly a 1500-calorie diet, and I think that day I ate more than that in one sitting! And it was worth every delicious bite.

El Pollo Loco will be opening their first restaurant in the Houston area this fall, in Sugarland. I can hardly wait- I’m hoping they’ll add one even closer to me. They were so kind to get together several bloggers from the area to try out their menu- and they put on an amazing event.

I have to be honest- I was wondering how yet another Mexican food restaurant was going to impress me since Houston is inundated with them. But El Pollo Loco is completely fresh and new! I was truly not prepared for how delicious their food would be! From their 24-hour-marinated grilled chicken to their scrumptious desserts (more on that later!), there is certainly plenty of room in Houston for them!

El Pollo Loco menu

Right away, I came in and checked out the menu. Remember that 1500 calorie diet I’m on? I was excited to see that El Pollo Loco has an under-500 calorie menu. One of those options was on our tasting menu and I quickly decided that’s what I would order.

But oh, no. We were able to try every single thing on our tasting menu! Most of them were full-sized portions, too! Chips with 4 different kinds of dips, FIVE entrees, and two of those desserts I mentioned earlier. It was a food-lover’s dream!

First up, they brought out the chips and guacamole, queso, pico de gallo, and avocado salsa. Now, I’ve grown up in Texas and have had countless versions of queso. This one is one of the best I’ve ever had. Deliciously creamy, a tiny hit of spiciness, oooh it’s making me hungry again! The pico and guac were fabulous too- they both tasted incredibly fresh. (That’s my friend Paula’s hand :) )

chips and dips

Then started the entrees- we tried bone-in chicken that was cooked perfectly. This chicken is the basis of many of other menu items. We also had rice, beans, and broccoli during this course. The rice was also some of the best Mexican rice I’ve had. And the broccoli initially had me puzzled- I’ve never seen it on the menu at a Mexican restaurant. But oh, it was so yummy. Salty and cooked just right- and I love that El Pollo Loco offers a low-cal side order option!

el pollo loco collage #houstonwehaveapollo

From left: Tostada, Pobano Avocado Burrito, Bone-in Chicken, Cheesecake Chimichangas

Then we tried a poblano avocado burrito. These babies weigh in at a pound each. The bloggers “only” ate half each- we still had 3 more entrees to go! This burrito was really good- lots of yummy flavors going on. The next entree was hands-down my favorite- the tostada. This is what us Texans would call a Taco Salad. The shell of it was incredible- so yummy and crispy and just good! We were also able to try the Pollo Bowl (a mix of chicken, beans, rice, onions, cilantro and pic) and the Under 500 Grande Taco. This was my initial choice and I had room for literally one bite by the end of the meal! I can’t wait to go back and eat this again when El Pollo Loco opens! I love that I can go enjoy Mexican food with my family and still have something healthier.


We got to watch the chefs prepare much of the food right in front of our eyes!

Then the desserts. I just knew I had NO more room to squeeze in another bite.

Then they brought in these delightful lilte concoctions called Cheesecake Chimichangas. Oh, my. They were so good. The outside was warm and crispy and the inside (the cheesecake part) was creamy and cool. Truly a phenomenal dessert.

I saw the churros lying there and decided just to try one so I could give an honest opinion. OH MY! I loved them even more than the chimichangas! I’d never had a “real” churro and it was perfect. Warm and soft, with lots of cinnamon and sugar dusted on top.


Well if you’re not hungry now, I don’t know what will entice you! Houstonians, get ready for El Pollo Loco! And in the meantime, check out their site and get ready to chow down! (Please get a churro for me when you go, mmmkay?)

About Kelli Hays

Kelli Hays is a wife, mother, writer, and friend. She has been blogging since 2008 and loves sharing inspiration for the everyday woman!


  1. […] left very happy. I took off a piece of one of the cinnamon churros (I already raved about those here-SO good!) that I got for the kids to save for myself and my little 2 year old snuck it while I was […]