What Popeyes' Drive-Thru Balconies Represent

Sure, Chick-fil-A, Raising Cane's, McDonald's, and Carl's Jr. all offer chicken on their menu, but have you ever had Popeyes' famous Louisiana-inspired fried chicken? If not, you're missing out. This unique Cajun-style twist on Southern cuisine has propelled Popeyes to finding mass success, leaving other fast food chains trying to replicate their winning combination in the ongoing chicken wars.

Popeyes' eclectic charm has been around since its first location opened, dating all the way back to 1972 when founder Al Copeland founded the restaurant with his first spot in a New Orleans suburb, naming the establishment after detective Popeye Doyle from the film "The French Connection," and not the fictional cartoon sailor, which is a common misconception (per Thrillist). Since then, things have only gotten more interesting and chaotic. 

For example, Popeyes has gone under five different name changes. Yeah, you read that right: five! The fried chicken restaurant was originally known as Chicken on the Run, but due to low sales Copeland was forced to undergo a recipe rebrand, thus birthing the Louisiana Cajun-style era. Before landing on Popeyes, the chain was called Popeyes Mighty Good Fried Chicken, Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken, and Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits, according to Thrillist. And not once did Copeland think to adopt an apostrophe in the name. At least he was somewhat consistent.

However, juicy fried chicken and fluffy biscuits aren't the only things bursting with Louisiana flavor at Popeyes. Its architecture is, too.

Popeyes' Louisiana roots run deep

Whether you're dining in or pulling up to the drive-thru, ordering your food at Popeyes is always an experience. Not only does the chain's Cajun-inspired menu pay homage to its Louisiana roots, but its architecture and décor does as well. In addition to the bright red, orange, and yellow-hued awnings and facade — as well as the forest green gooseneck light fixtures — Popeyes has always incorporated iron balconies into its exterior design as a nod to the New Orleans French Quarter, per Architecture + Branding.

If you've ever participated in Mardi Gras or visited New Orleans' top tourist destination, then you know all about the French Quarter's balcony culture. During Mardi Gras, people flock to the balconies on Bourbon Street to toss colorful beads, watch the parade, and of course watch the people (via Mardi Gras New Orleans). Outside of the holiday, the balconies are also known for being the best spot to enjoy the sounds of jazz, a Creole meal, and the overall French Quarter atmosphere. While it appears Popeyes' balconies are closed to the public (and possibly employees), its sentiment remains the same.