After serving its last supper on August 24, 2010 in its former location at Surf and Stillwell, Popeyes Chicken is reopening today at 1220 Surf Avenue. As previously reported in “Popeyes Chicken Returning to Coney Island’s Surf Avenue” (ATZ, October 17, 2011), the restaurant’s owner had been in business year-round in Coney Island for 27 years, first as Kennedy Fried Chicken and then as Popeyes, when he lost his lease in the now-demolished Henderson Building. The Thor Equities-owned site is now a vacant new building encased in plywood.
The popular fast-food restaurant’s new home is in the Popper Building, which has a distinctive old copper sign that says “Herman Popper & Bro.” Though it does not have landmark designation, the building as well as its original owner have a colorful history. Herman Popper was a whiskey distiller and wholesale liquor seller who once supplied most of the Bowery dives and concert halls. Though selling liquor on the Lord’s Day was then illegal, his business extended to Sundays on the orders of Coney’s notorious John “Boss” McKane.
Popeyes is the third relocated Coney Island eatery to open this week. On Easter Sunday, Cha Cha’s opened a bar/restaurant on Surf Avenue and Steve’s Grill House made a comeback on Stillwell Avenue after losing their leases on the City-owned Boardwalk last year.
Related posts on ATZ…
April 9, 2012: Steve’s New Grill House Opens on Stillwell in Coney Island