by Rick Griffin
El Pollo Loco, the fire-grilled chicken restaurant chain, has opened a location in Santee at 9714 Mission Gorge Rd. The 2,926-square-foot restaurant with about 45 new hires, is the first El Pollo Loco restaurant in the city of Santee and the 25th to be owned and operated by El Pollo Loco franchisee business partners, Bill Engel and Chris Pingel of Peg/Lion, LLC, the second largest franchisee in the El Pollo Loco system.
The restaurant features a vibrant exterior, colorful, comfortable booths and large windows to allow natural sunlight into the dining area. An exhibition kitchen showcases the preparation of El Pollo Loco’s signature chicken which is deeply marinated in a proprietary blend of lime, fruit juice, garlic, spices and seasoning then expertly grilled on an open flame.
A focal point of the dining room is the self-serve salsa bar which features a variety of salsas that guests can use to customize menu selections. All salsas are hand-made and prepared fresh in the restaurant every day. The restaurant is open seven days a week. Dine-in and take-out service is from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and drive-thru service is extended until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. El Pollo Loco also specializes in catering for all occasions with complimentary food delivery and onsite meal presentation set-up.
“We are so proud to bring El Pollo Loco’s signature cuisine along with rewarding jobs to the greater San Diego area,” said Bill Engel, partner, Peg Lion Enterprise. “The city of Santee and its residents have been so welcoming to us and the El Pollo Loco brand. We look forward to personally greeting our customers, continuing our commitment to serving healthful, great tasting food while contributing to this community in meaningful ways.”
Through El Pollo Loco Charities, the new Santee restaurant plans to give back to the Santee community in a number of ways, including volunteering in local neighborhoods, hosting fire-grilled fundraisers in which a portion of the restaurant proceeds benefit a local organization, or sponsoring organizations in need.