There’s nothing like a brand new fast-food option to get Key Westers’ attention and dominate discussions around town and online. Only on this island would the 2015 opening of Taco Bell require armed security details to control hungry crowds in both the dining room and drive-through lines.
Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen will be the latest drive-through line to stretch around the building that’s being renovated at 2120 N. Roosevelt Blvd. Its catchy jingle is already firmly lodged in the minds of anyone who has seen and heard the television commercials for “Loo-ziana fast…love that chicken from Popeye’s.”
A company called Sun Holdings Inc. signed a lease in September 2018 for the former Burger King, which had been closed since Hurricane Irma, although real estate broker Will Langley of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Knight & Gardner Realty, who handled the negotiations, said the building was not damaged in the storm.
“It had already needed a new roof; that wasn’t storm-related, but there are other significant upgrades that Sun Holdings is making to the property,” Langley said when the lease was signed.
Workers at the site on Wednesday didn’t have a definite completion date, but estimated that their work would be finished “some time in the next month.”
Sun Holdings operates more than 800 franchise locations that include Popeye’s, Arby’s, Cici’s pizza buffet, Krispy Kreme and Golden Corral.
Sun Holdings Founder and CEO Guillermo Perales, a Mexican immigrant who started with a single Golden Corral location in 1997, built Sun Holdings into the largest Latino-owned franchise operator in the U.S, according to Forbes magazine.
Popeye’s started out as a Chicken on the Run restaurant in 1972 in New Orleans, but performed poorly, the company’s website states. Its owner and founder, Alvin C. Copeland Sr., rebranded the restaurant in 1976 and renamed it Popeye’s after Popeye Doyle of “The French Connection,” the company’s website states.
The company opened its first franchise location in 1976 and now has more than 2,000 locations nationwide.
Additional switches from Burger King to Popeye’s could be occurring nationwide, as Burger King Corp. bought Popeye’s for $1.8 billion in February 2017, according to money.com.
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