Food

Cheap Eats 2009: El Pollo Rico – Arlington

Great food, low prices, lots of fun

Why go: None of the other rotisserie-chicken joints can match the succulence of these spice-rubbed, spit-roasted birds. The secret: a 24-hour brine—but the precise combination of salt, citrus, and spice is a recipe the owners won’t divulge.

What to get: The chicken. For big eaters, the sweet-corn tamale steamed in a banana leaf—available only in Wheaton—is a good side order, and the rum cake is a delicious, boozy dessert.

Best for: Fast takeout—the birds hold up well in Styrofoam containers, and the line moves almost as quickly as the cleaver-wielding guys who hack up the chicken.

Insider tip: Go at peak lunch and dinner hours to get birds fresh off the spit.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

>> See all 2009 Cheap Eats restaurants here 

Don’t Miss a Great New Restaurant Again: Get Our Food Newsletter

Questions or comments? You can reach us on Twitter, via e-mail, or by contacting the author directly:
Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.