Some people believe Popeyes offers fried chicken at its best, the peak perfection of poultry that’s been immersed in oil and crisped. How can you improve on their king of all cooked fowl? The company has an answer, but only briefly. What if you could eat Popeyes chicken wings slathered in champagne batter and coated with 24-karat gold flakes? It may not be good for the bottom line—or the waist line—but it’s good for marketing.
To celebrate the opening its 3,000th store in Elizabeth, N.J., Popeyes has turned this fever dream of hedonism into a reality. At four of its restaurants on Oct. 4, customers will be able to order a bundle of six boneless, guilded chicken wings, a side, and a warm biscuit while the stores’ supplies last.
The lucky locations are in Manhattan, New Orleans, and Anaheim, California—as well as the new Elizabeth Popeyes eatery.
The amount of gold may appear opulent, but gold’s propensity for dilution without losing its luster means that it’s not worth purchasing the chicken, applying a bunsen burner, and attempting to recapture the infinitesimal amount of precious metal that sloughs off.
And while gold is indigestible, it shouldn’t cause any more gastric distress than fried food already does, as it simply passes through one’s system. Gold that’s safe to apply to food contains only that element and other inert fillers, like pure silver.
Popeyes took a New Orleans style of informal cooking and brought it to a mainstream audience starting in 1972. A number of fast-food and counter-service restaurants have adopted dishes and cooking styles popular in New Orleans and Louisiana, like Schlotzsky’s, a chain founded in 1971, focused on the muffuletta sandwich brought to the Big Easy by Sicilian immigrants.