I found myself with time to kill in Brooklyn Heights and so took the chance to indulge one of my guilty pleasures: fried chicken at Popeye's. As usual when I eat there, I was today, again, the only white person in the dining area. And that made me think of the last time I was there:

I was eating and reading when I hear, "Yo, yo." I look up to see a couple of black guys at a table in the far corner of the room. I realize that one of them is calling me, so I answer.


"Listen: I got this soda with my meal" -- he holds up an empty cup he is entitled to fill -- "and I don't want it. You could have it."

"Thanks a lot, but I don't drink soda."

The funny thing was there were a dozen diners between us, and the offer was made all the way across the room to me.

What I pictured was the two guys talking at the table a moment before:

"Will you look at that: there's a white guy, eating in Popeye's!"

"Holy spit! Perhaps we better offer him something."

"Like, as a reward?"

"Yeah, he's earned one."


  1. The few times I've eaten at Popeye's have all been in South Korea. I was the only white guy there too.

    I had no idea it was actually an American chain, I assumed it was Korea.

  2. For real, what do you think was going on? Was he going to try to charge you for it? Or were they just intrigued and wanted an excuse to talk to you?

    1. "Was he going to try to charge you for it?"

      They weren't Rothbardians, Bob. I think the guy was really just being nice because he got a kick out of me being in there.

    2. How do you know they weren't Rothbardians? That's very racist of you.

    3. It was not their race, but the look of sanity in their eyes, that let me know.

  3. Popeye's is all over white and mixed-race neighborhoods down here, and gets a diverse clientele including white people, though 30 years ago that was not the case. Um, according to my dad? But I have my own theory, based on hazy memory. Of my dad's stories.

    I think Popeye's spicy chicken was spicier before the chain expanded into whiter neighborhoods. I don't know who could or would verify whether my recollection (of what my dad said) is correct.

    1. Yeah, it's funny, this neighborhood is a transportation hub, so those passing through it are about as diverse as NY. But the Popeye's really does not reflect the mix of the pedestrian traffic at all!

  4. They have plenty of Popeye's down here in Georgia. I live in the Metro Atlanta area and I occasionally grab a bite to eat from one of their establishments. The biscuits are always my favorite part about getting good from those places as well as the chicken and shrimp. I used to think that they named the chains after Popeye the Sailor and the E.C. Segar comic strips!

    Yes, most of the people I've seen working at Popeye's are black. As a son of Hispanic immigrants, I have never really had any problems eating there.

  5. You eat Popeye's but don't drink soda? Wha?


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