Popeye's Closes Last All-You-Can-Eat Fried Chicken Buffet, Upsetting Fans

It's the end of an era for Popeyes. The beloved fast food chain, renowned around the world for sparking the ongoing fast food chicken sandwich wars, has officially closed its last all-you-can-eat fried chicken buffet, much to the upset of fans. Located on the corner of Pinhook and South College in Lafayette, Louisiana, the Popeyes buffet had been the only remaining restaurant in the entire chain that offered customers the chance to Popeyes' favorite menu items between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. for "around $10," though it was forced to close its doors for good amid struggles brought on by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The closure was first reported by local radio station Hot 107.9's DJ Digital, which announced on Dec. 7 that "the last remaining Popeyes buffet in the world is officially closed forever." The station, which noted that the location offered an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring fried chicken, biscuits, and numerous side items "shutdowns due to COVID-19." A manager at the location previously told the outlet that after COVID-19 restrictions eased, "it was highly possible that the buffet might not return," with a worker confirming this month hat 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.'"

The Lafayette Daily Advertiser, however, reported that while the buffet is closed, a final decision regarding buffet had not yet been made. Mollie Birer, a spokesperson for the restaurant chain, confirmed the closure in an email to the outet which read, "the buffet has been closed due to COVID restrictions and the restaurant has not yet made a decision as to whether or not they will reopen the buffet." The location, meanwhile, remains open, with the all-you-can-eat buffet option absent.

The Popeye's buffet was not just loved by fans, but also by famed foodies, including late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who according to the Lafayette Daily Advertiser dined at the location for three days in a row during a trip to Louisianna. Amid the closure, many fans of the buffet and of the larger fast food chain have rallied their support around the beloved Louisiana-based outpost, with a Change.org petition even calling on the company to reverse course and reopen the last Popeyes buffet.

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Titled "Reopen the Lat Popeyes Buffet," the petition states that the buffet's closure denies "the world delicious chicken and sides of their choosing. We the people request that the last Popeyes buffet be reopened, to serve as a beacon of hope for fried chicken lovers everywhere." Since its creation, the petition has received more than 2,600 signatures from those calling on Popeyes to reopen the buffet.