Brace yourselves UF and FSU alums: Pollo Tropical is coming

Pollo Tropical is under construction at Fruitville Road and Honore Avenue.

My Midwest roots and I really have no idea what that means.

The Miami-based, fast casual Caribbean chicken chain has a strong presence in Florida — specifically at Florida State University in Tallahassee and the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Fortunately my newsroom is full of experts, as well as some of my former Herald-Tribune colleagues.

So I polled the audience on my Facebook about why I should be excited about this. Here’s what they had to say:

I love Pollo Tropical! My favorite thing is the plantains. They had it in the student union at FSU and my favorite meal there was the roast chicken, black beans and rice and plantains. I love, love, love it!

—former HT health reporter Maggie Clark, an FSU alum

^This is what to order.

—Former HT North Port reporter Scott Davidson, a UF alum, who despite the rivalry cosigned Maggie’s order.

Omg we had one of these on the UF campus, and it was always slammed. Fast, pretty decent chicken, but their plantains were the shit.

—HT arts reporter Dahlia Ghabour, a UF alum

Shelby Webb (the former HT education reporter and a UF alum) introduced me to this place on a work trip in Miami. As a vegetarian I was skeptical, but she introduced me to the TropiChops and all the delicious sauces you can add to it — and I about lost my mind. I cannot wait to try the sides like the plantains, Caribbean Corn Souffle and boiled yuca with garlic sauce.

—HT photographer Rachel O’Hara

Pollo means chicken.

—HT reporter Carlos Munoz, a Wisconsin native, who evidently knows less about this chicken chain than I do

I went on a work trip in Gainesville once. It was pretty good.

—HT reporter Elizabeth Johnson, who enjoyed it but did not have a spazz attack over this Facebook thread like our UF and FSU alums did.

UGHHH WHERE DO I EVEN START?! Like what other fast food place serves delicious yellow rice? Where else can you get delicious, well prepared, great quality roasted chicken (except maybe Boston Market) in less than five minutes? Where else has a sauce bar dripping with seasoning from the gods? NO WHERE, because Pollo Tropical owns the game. Once it’s here, you’ll totally understand why I’m freaking out. And they have tres leches cake ~and~ flan for dessert. Who else can compete with that?! No one, that’s who.

—Former HT education reporter Shelby Webb, a UF alum and an obsessive fan of this chain.

So what do you all think about Pollo Tropical? Let us know!

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