Popeyes: The Review I Did Not Want to Write

The Food Club set out on their official outing to Popeys Chop House in St. Rose, Illinois. With the Henry's on their honeymoon, the Stenzel crew (Cole, Chris, Jess, Quent, and Amber) take over for a night filled with food, drinks, and shenanigans, joined by the soon to be Mr. and Mrs. Shields, and myself. 

First, let's set the scene so everyone can really get a feel for how the night begins. The plan is to meet  for pregame drinks at 3:00, with a 3:30 departure time in the limo and a 6:00 reservation. Now, Popeyes is only an hour from Red Bud, but there are so many great places to stop along the way, we had to give ourselves ample time for more drinks at hole in the wall bars in towns of no more than 1,500 people. As 4:00 rolls around, we are still trying to plan our route of pre-dinner stops. Matt, the navigator, steps up to make the decision that we are going to the Blue Room. With the decision made, we get our coats on and we are ready for our trek to New Minden, IL. As we are walking out the door Amber exits the bathroom and gracefully takes a knee to chug a Smirnoff Ice like a champ, which was slyly placed on the toilet by Cole. The war is on! 

The cooler is stocked, drinks are flowing, and we are finally leaving town. with 15 minutes left in our drive to the Blue Room, Quent realizes he forgot his handle of scotch. We quickly find a gas station to pull off at, because hat else would you drink out of a sifter with a death star ice ball. Bush Light certainly wouldn't make sense. 3 bathroom breaks, icing Quent, and a $53 bottle of Jameson later, we make it to New Minden. The limo pulls around to a shack like building and we think our driver is playing a joke on us. We had all heard this place was a hole in the wall with great food. We didn't think hole in the wall was so literal. From the outside it looked like the place was going to collapse any minute. As we walked inside, the fear of the roof and the floor caving in was no joke. The smell of burgers and fried food flooded the small bar and the flow of cheap drinks was welcomed by all. The bartenders were friendly and the crowd was impressive for such a small town. While we did not have any food, I think we all intend to go back one day for a Sunday funday. After a round of Bush Light's we pass around the Pedialite bottle for some electrolytes and we are out the door and on our way to Popeyes. 

We arrive to Popeyes and of course it is a packed house. In the 20 years I have been going there, I have never not seen people waiting at the door for a table. Note to future diners, if you plan to go there for dinner, make a reservation. As stated above, I have been going to Popeyes for about 20 years. The service has been impeccable since day one and some of the same bartenders and waiters/waitresses are still working there. Naturally I was excited to share this restaurant with the Food Club and all of you. When I tell people I am going out to eat at Popeyes, they instantly think of Popeye's Chicken. Popeyes Chop House is a great steak place in St. Rose, IL. A place where the outside air reeks of dairy cows and the inside smells of juicy prime rib. No, they are not using dairy cow meat for the steaks. 

As we look over the menu I recommend my favorite appetizers that I have sampled over the years. We decide on the salt and pepper wings, skillet mushrooms, crab cakes and bruschetta. I have had both the wings and mushrooms before, but never the bruschetta. There were mixed reviews by everyone, but the one thing we could all agree on, THE BRUSCHETTA WAS THE BOMB! "Why is this bruschetta so good? It is just bruschetta!" - One of the Stenzel's. 

It is time to order our main courses and naturally I recommend a steak for everyone. Having been there so many times and eating God only knows how many filet's or prime rib, I decide to switch it up. With the many specials on the board, I decide to go with the sea bass, wild rice, and vegetable medley. Amber and Jess decided to take the seafood route along with me by ordering the scorpion salmon. My mouth was watering just hearing this special - lobster and crab stuffed salmon filet, topped with jumbo shrimp. Following our orders, there were a couple of prime rib orders, which came roasted or grilled, strip steak and ribeye's.
While waiting for our meal, the funny business continues. Remember the Smirnoff Ice war I told you about? It becomes ruthless! You became a helpless victim if you needed to use the restroom. "I'm smoking heaters tonight! I bought a pack just in case this happened!" - Cole when he gets iced after a trip to the bathroom. As the guys continue to ice each other, the girls passed around the Pedialite to replenish electrolytes. 

Finally our food comes and I am ecstatic for everyone to enjoy their amazing food! Everyone digs in and a little sobriety consumes us all. Shared bites are passed across the table and I am in heaven! By the time we all finish our meals, the waiter has caught on to our ice war and sees the empty Pedialite bottle on the table. To him, this is a dead giveaway that we were on a mission, so proceeds to buy a round of shots. Far too many times have I had a Popeyes shot and barely made it home. Amber, Jess and I politely decline. The boys and Morgan take it on like champs. The name of the shot escapes me, but the bottom is Ski soda and the top is whiskey (see photo below). Along with the after dinner shot, we indulge in dessert - Snickers cheese cake, Italian wedding cake, and carrotcake.


 
With full stomachs, we head to the Turf Lounge in Breese to have our final review of Popeyes. We went around the table to have each person go over every course, including drinks. As I am waiting for the outstanding reviews, I start to hear things like, "my old fashioned was not good at all, the wings weren't that special, my salad was overdressed, my prime rib wasn't that great". I thought to myself, are these people crazy? My meal was awesome and for not being such a huge fan of wings, I love them! Although I don't think I loved them as much as Chris loved the sauce on the crab cakes. As I am trying to figure out what is wrong with these lunatics, I start thinking about the review I have to write. I can't say anything bad about Popeyes! That is like betrayal! I take a few chugs of a Bush Light and I begin to calm down. I quickly realize that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and being the big foodie I am, I should know that not everyone has the same pallets and everyone likes different things. It was ultimately decided, and I say this with difficulty, Popeyes was ranked a 3 out of 5. Perhaps I spoke too highly of the restaurant, but the group felt that it was just okay for having such a long drive.

While the point of the Food Club is to give honest reviews of restaurants in and around the St. Louis area to our readers, keep an open mind regardless of what you read anywhere. There are so many people that open their Yelp apps before visiting a restaurant, and God forbid they actually go eat their if the first 2 reviews are negative. The best part about trying a new place is getting out of your comfort zone and straying from your usual places. 

By the time we got back to Red Bud, we had lost count of how many bars we stopped at and how many Busch Lights were consumed, 3 people passed out (damn Stenzel boys) and only 1 person fell out of the limo (Morgan). Our next outing is scheduled for February 10th and we will be dining at Al's in St. Louis. While the Henry's were on their honeymoon, Quent and Amber subbed in. We still haven't decided if they are invited back. 

**DISCLAIMER** 
No Smirnoff Ice's were harmed in the making of this Food Club adventure. 
Cole never actually bought any heaters. 
You should still try Popeyes, because I think it is good! 
I am just kidding Quent and Amber. You are invited back. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

4 comments

  • I’ve been once with you guys and I thought it was pretty good. Mark and I should go for our birthdays in Feb.

    Sonny
  • Well your mother disagrees! I believe too many Smirnoffs were Iced for everyone to clearly appreciate great food! And you didn’t have the onion rings? Clearly mother is disappointed in this group! Shame on you ❤️

    Mom
  • Popeyes is delicious! Next time ask for pepper jelly with your bruschetta. It makes it even better than it already is!

    Amy
  • Popeyes is amazing, and the shot you had is called a snoot shooter!

    Colbey Voss

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