Young and Hungry

Young & Hungry Dining Guide by the Day: El Pollo Rico

One by one, we’re running through the 50 restaurants that made the cut on this year’s Young & Hungry Dining Guide. If you have visited the day’s featured restaurant, let us know what you think. If you’re planning to visit for the first time, tell us about your meal when you return.

Last year, the husband-and-wife owners confessed to multiple federal crimes and agreed to forfeit millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains. But the Solano family’s notoriety hasn’t affected the popularity of their reopened Peruvian chicken outlet in Wheaton, where the charcoal-grilled birds, loaded down with salt, cumin, herbs, smoke, and God knows what else, are so good they’re criminal.

 Addendum: Read my original defense for El Pollo Rico.

El Pollo Rico, 2517 University Blvd., Wheaton, Md., (301) 942-4419

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Tricia Olszewski

    YUM. A Peruvian chicken place just opened up the street from me in College Park, and although it's good, nothing beats El Pollo Rico.

  • DC foodie with changing name

    Tim - interested to hear your take on the often claimed superiority of the Wheaton location versus the Arlington one?

    I was introduced to Pollo Rico in Arlington and have returned there ever since for the awesome deliciousness but once I went to the Wheaton location for a change.

    What I found in Wheaton was a bird that was much drier and not nearly as flavorful as the one in Arlington. Yet most people claim the Wheaton chicken is far superior. Was I crazy? Was it just a bad day?

    What is your take (or do you even have one)?

  • Tim Carman

    DC foodie,

    There's a reason I focus on the Wheaton branch. I have yet to visit the Arlington location. But I'll say this: The Wheaton location's weakness is inconsistency, which is not hard to understand given the volume of business there. Those birds are brined and then smoked; if the brining time is shortened or the smoke period extended by a neglectful cook, it could lead to a dry bird. But now that you have thrown down the gauntlet, I will check out the Arlington spot.


  • DC foodie with changing name

    Friendly, delicious, perfect-excuse-for-another-Pollo Rico-meal gauntlet, please!

    Thus far I have found the Arlington branch to be very consistent. Never had a bad meal there in the past 4 years.

    But avoid the alfajores (Peruvian cookies) for dessert. They are nasty, chalky things that don't deserve a review.

  • Pingback: Pollo Wow!: Silly Name, Good Peruvian Chicken, Great Chicken Rice - Young & Hungry - Washington City Paper