America's Last Popeyes Buffet Says It's Closing Forever

A Louisiana location was the only remaining Popeyes to offer all-you-can-eat fried chicken — but that option won't be returning post-pandemic.

Some opportunities are simply lost to time. The closest I'll ever get to seeing The Beatles is watching the Get Back documentary – and after eight hours, I'm cool with that. But the worst missed opportunities are the ones you had a chance to experience but didn't quite get to in time: Alas, the last remaining Popeyes buffet has reportedly officially closed.

Even before chicken sandwiches shifted Popeyes' focus, the chain's buffets were already an anomaly – and already on their last leg. In 2017, the radio station Hot 107.9 reported that the Popeyes location located on the corner of Pinhook and South College in Lafayette, Louisiana, was the only remaining restaurant in the entire chain that offered an all-you-can-eat buffet option. The station claimed that Popeyes itself had said three buffet locations were left as of 2010, but after contacting those other two stores, both said they had removed their buffets in the previous years.

Close-up of Popeyes' tender chicken
Roberto Machado Noa / Getty Images

To hear Hot 107.9 talk about it, this final "around $10" buffet where customers could dig into Popeyes' favorites from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. was an otherworldly place: "I was almost certain there was a time where tacos, macaroni and spaghetti were once an option on the buffet line," author DJ Digital wrote. "When I asked [store manager Betty Williams] about it, she told me I was right; but those items were discontinued when Popeyes said they could only allow menu items on the buffet."

Not convinced of its greatness? The buffet location was also purportedly Anthony Bourdain's Popeyes restaurant of choice in Louisiana.

However, the pandemic was a double whammy for this last remaining Popeyes buffet – not only shuttering dining rooms but also bringing into question the health and safety of all buffets. Still, a number of local news sites remained on the case: On February 1, ESPN Lafayette reported that the management for the location – which had recently changed hands – was still undecided about bringing back the buffet. Then, in July, an update on Twitter: The lobby of the location had finally reopened from the pandemic, but the status of the buffet was still in doubt.

But yesterday, terrible news for buffet lovers and historians alike: Hot 107.9's DJ Digital chimed back in, writing, "It's officially the end of an era."

"After COVID restrictions eased up, the manager of that Popeyes location told me that it was highly possible that the buffet might not return," he reported. "After months have passed, a worker confirmed that the buffet option would not be returning. Of course, I continued to question her, asking if she was sure. She was very certain in her replies—doubling down on her original answer that it was gone 'forever.'"

Reached by phone this morning, an employee at the location confirmed to Food & Wine that the buffet is indeed closed with no plans to reopen.

(We also reached out to Popeyes public relations but did not receive an official statement with regard to the buffet location's closure.)

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