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Fried chicken franchises, Argentine eatery call it quits

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A fast-food fixture and an upstart downtown eatery have closed in Indianapolis, leaving a void for both a traditional Hoosier staple and an ethnic rarity.

Five Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits restaurants operated by local franchisee Will Pace have shut down, said Alicia Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based chain.

Meanwhile, it appears Argentine restaurant Taste of Tango has closed on East Washington Street after being in business only about 18 months.

Thompson said the Popeyes closed within the past week. Closed locations include 4920 W. 38th St.; 2402 E. 38th St.; 6707 W. Washington St.; and 6012 E. 46th St. Thompson did not know the address for the other location.

She said company policy prohibited her from commenting on the cause of the closures. But the chain would like to reopen in the city under a new franchisee, she said.

“We’re committed to the market and are looking to reopen in the future,” Thompson said.

A Popeye's location operated by another franchisee in Whitestown remains open.

Popeye’s is likely to bounce back locally, said Steve Delaney, a principal at the Indianapolis-based Sitehawk Retail Real Estate brokerage.

“I’m guessing the local franchisee had an operational problem rather than a location problem,” he said. “It’s a good product. Corporate probably will come back and reopen.”

Popeyes was founded in New Orleans in 1972 and became part of AFC Enterprises in 1992. AFC, traded on the NASDAQ exchange, has no other holdings.

Louisville-based KFC Corp. has a much larger presence in the Indianapolis area, boasting 37 stores. Overall, KFC has 5,200 restaurants in the United States compared to 1,500 for Popeye’s.

Taste of Tango, opened by owner Fabrico Perez in February 2009, was located in the first block of East Washington Street a few doors from Dunkin’ Donuts. A for-lease banner was hung from the building on Thursday advertising the space at $12 per square foot.

The location is too far away from the Indiana Convention Center to attract much business from visitors, Delaney said. But the area has been rejuvenated by nearby restaurants such as Scotty’s Brewhouse, Fogo de Chao, Adobo Grill and Buffalo Wild Wings.

“I think long-term, it’s becoming a good restaurant location,” Delaney said of the block.

What could make the former Taste of Tango space appealing is that its current liquor license is included in the lease. Delaney said downtown licenses typically cost about $40,000, in addition to an annual renewal fee.

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  • Booo
    This makes me very angry, it's like the South Park episode "Medicinal Fried Chicken", but instead of KFC (booo) I am looking for a Popeye's
  • Popeye's
    I want my Red Beans and Rice! They are the best!
  • Big Surprise
    Popeye's closed because he hadn't paid his employees withholding taxes for 3 years - that is money he took from his employees paycheck that they owed to the Fed & kept it. If I go more than 3 months the Feds are all over my restaurant company of 1 unit. A Taste had great food and not bad but NO SERVICE!He should reopen somewhere North & hire an experienced manager.
  • Correct
    If you look up the health code violations for these stores you will see how bad it really was.
  • Spicy or Mild
    Spicy or Mild.....I love Spicy....although Popeye's is spicier in Louisiana than here.
  • Popeys vs others...
    Bite your tongue! While KFC is better than Popeye's for the money, Church's Chicken is far superior, AND less expensive!
  • Tango
    I am not surprised that Taste of Tango didn't survive. My husband took me there for dinner back in May...when we asked our server to describe Hake fish she said "A fish you find in the river and in the ocean." Not to mention, the food was very expensive with no flavor. Which surprises me, as I've always found Argentine food to be delicious!
  • !!
    "The location is too far away from the Indiana Convention Center to attract much business from visitors, Delaney said."

    hahaha, what a load of BS.
  • Taste of Tango
    I agree with Brian. Taste of Tango offered mediocre food for high price tag. Besides service was very slow and unorganized.
  • No great loss
    I went to the Taste of Tango during Devour Downtown and was thoroughly unimpressed. For the same amount of money, St. Elmo's wouldn't have left me hungry, and the quality would've been better.
  • Love Popeye's Chicken!
    Bummer. Popeye's chicken is the best fast-food chicken around. I hate to see them disappear from the food landscape.

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