DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – The wait is almost over for Cajun chicken fans across the Quad Cities.
This Monday, Nov. 7, the QC will officially have its own Popeyes restaurant when doors open at the chain’s newest store at Kimberly and Marquette Streets.
Franchisee Jay Wali says he has never seen this level of excitement in 27 years of operating Popeyes stores.
“The buzz and enthusiasm for the Davenport opening is the biggest we have experienced,” Wali, who runs eight other Popeyes, tells KWQC by email. “This is the first time we have seen Facebook fan pages with thousands of people following every step of the process.”
One Facebook fan page for the new Davenport store that was recently removed had attracted more than 1,600 followers, dozens of whom left comments declaring their love for the food.
When KWQC broke the news last month of the Nov. 7 opening date, the web story was shared a total of more than 9,000 times.
Popeyes’ “spicy Louisiana-style chicken” has a cult following, a passion perhaps heightened in the Quad Cities by the fact that until now the nearest store was 50 miles away in Coralville, Iowa.
Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch says the new Popeyes is as much about commerce as chicken.
He expects the store to be a vital part of the campaign to build up Davenport’s west side because it will be the only Popeyes in all of the Quad Cities.
“I think people from all over, not just west Davenport, will go to this restaurant,” Klipsch says. “It may be the catalyst to bring other restaurants and businesses to that part of town, potentially creating a hub like we see at Utica Ridge and 53rd (Street). We’re starting to see some of that dynamic coming to the west side of Davenport, and that’s great.”
One potential growing pain, at least in the short-term, could be traffic.
Several fans on social media are speculating about potential congestion on Kimberly after Monday’s grand opening.
Road delays caused by a new Popeyes in Douglasville, Georgia in 2012 are chronicled in a story headlined “Popeyes Causing Havoc on Highway 5.”
A grand opening in Kalamazoo, Michigan last year according to MLive.com caused a line of traffic which “stretched out onto West Main Street before wrapping around the building.”
A Davenport Police spokesman told KWQC earlier this week there is no plan as yet for special traffic enforcement, but if necessary that could change.