Words & Deeds

Californians love this ‘delicious’ Boise restaurant. Locals, too. Now a second one is open.

Finally, Boise: Our fresh source of “crack tacos” has arrived.

A second Fiesta Chicken opened last week in the former Wendy’s building at 1450 S. Orchard St. The new restaurant and drive-thru serves the same menu of charbroiled chicken, tacos and burritos that have made the original location a success at 10689 W. Ustick Road. Food comes fast, and portions offer solid bang for the buck.

West Coast transplants rave about Fiesta Chicken’s grub on Google and Yelp, describing it as “delicious.” The locally owned restaurant reminds them of El Pollo Loco, a Mexican grilled chicken chain that’s popular in California.

Chef and co-owner Francisco Roble had hoped to debut the Orchard Street location back in April, but it got delayed. He opened the first Fiesta Chicken eight years ago after moving to Idaho from Fresno.

When I visited the new joint last week, no permanent sign had been installed outside. Staff was still being hired and trained. So patrons probably should keep their expectations in check for a week or two.

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You won’t go wrong with Fiesta Chicken Salad ($7.10) and chipotle ranch on the side at Fiesta Chicken, now open at two Boise locations. Michael Deeds mdeeds@idahostatesman.com

The new space is larger. Otherwise, the experience isn’t unlike the original Fiesta Chicken, which I described in a February review as “a hole-in-the-wall with counter service. Minimal decor, a few tables. But the mouthwatering scent of marinated, charbroiled chicken filled the space. Satisfied customers sat and feasted on tacos, enchiladas and half-birds with knowing smiles and grunts.”

Regulars fondly refer to Fiesta Chicken’s popular Chipotle Chicken Taco ($1.75) as a “crack taco.” Why? It’s all about the addictive, spicy, chipotle ranch dressing. Order a Platter — three tacos and two sides — for $7.59. You definitely will not go home hungry. Or ask for chipotle ranch with the Fiesta Chicken Salad ($7.10), which will hit the spot.

California Combos ($6.59-$8.59) include various chicken breast, leg, thigh and wing options, plus two small sides, a medium drink, and either three corn or two flour tortillas. Sides at Fiesta Chicken include rice, beans, broccoli salad, cole slaw, potato salad and mac ‘n’ cheese. (Unusual as it might sound at a Mexican eatery, I like to go with broccoli salad and mac ‘n’ cheese.)

The new Fiesta Chicken is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Order by phone at (208) 375-2810.

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Michael Deeds is an entertainment reporter and columnist at the Idaho Statesman, where he also has been a sportswriter, entertainment editor and features editor. Deeds co-hosts “The Other Studio,” a one-hour music show, at 8 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.