Yelp is great for checking out what the community thinks of a certain restaurant. It’s also great for a healthy helping of drama.
Sweet Dixie Kitchen in Long Beach, California is at the center of a controversy after a disappointed customer revealed that its chicken sandwich was created using Popeyes chicken. The drama has since been called Popeyegate.
The whole thing went down when Yelper Tyler H from Los Angeles posted a 1-star review claiming he spotted employees bringing boxes of Popeyes chicken into the kitchen.
“I wanted to believe that this was just a snack for the workers, but alas it was not. I ordered the Chicken and Waffles to see whether or not they were serving Popeyes to their customers. I thought the chicken tasted suspiciously like Popeyes and was also rather stale,” Tyler wrote.
His server admitted the restaurant does in fact use Popeyes chicken on its $12.50 chicken sandwich. They then comped his meal, although Tyler did have other complaints, aside from the fast food chicken.
Owner Kimberly Sanchez decided to respond to the allegations, and confirmed that the restaurant does in fact use Popeyes chicken.
“We PROUDLY SERVE Popeyes spicy tenders- the best fried chicken anywhere and from New Orleans,” she wrote.
OK, Sanchez. While Popeyes does taste good, calling it the “best fried chicken anywhere” is absolutely offensive.
Sanchez then went on to list a variety of other ingredients they outsource, which is completely and totally normal for a restaurant. However, outsourcing fast food fried chicken and reselling it on a sandwich for $12.50 is at the very least, misleading, considering it was not noted on the menu.
Sanchez claims the restaurant doesn’t have the ability to fry chicken on its premises, which is also completely fair. But, again, misleading that it wasn’t noted on the menu.
It also doesn’t help that the restaurant hashtagged #scratch, #local, and #homemade on a picture of its fried chicken sandwich last month.
It’s bomb and we have it!!!! The ultimate in breakfast or lunch- our Biscuitwitch!!! #sweetdixiekitchen #scratch #opennow #neighborhoodjoint #familyowned #conventioncenterlongbeach #cozycafe #biscuitlove #chefslife #presstelegram #ocweekly #3rdandelm #dogfriendlypatio #localsspot #molinahealthcare #musictastesgood #dlba #sconesandjam #homemade #localflavor
To make matters worse, Sweet Dixie’s Facebook description claimed that they made everything in house.
“Everything is made here- right down to our bacon ham and siracha[sic] Stay Local- Stay Happy- and always Eat Well,” the description read, according to a screengrab from FoodBeast.
The about section has since been updated, and even includes a jab at the chicken they import.
Tyler later called out the hypocrisy of the restaurant’s reasoning for using Popeyes with an update to his review:
In response to the response. If you think Popeyes serves the best fried chicken then you really don’t know what you’re talking about.
I challenge you to be honest with your customers…put it on your menu that you “proudly” serve Popeyes chicken. You do this for coffee…why not for Popeyes chicken
After some stories called out the controversy,
Sanchez took to the company’s Facebook page to vent, and attempt to justify their use of outsourced foods with comparisons that didn’t exactly add up.
Here’s the full text from the Facebook post below, just in case it goes offline.
The owner of Sweet Dixie has a message to share with all our customers.You got a part of a story-from both a yelp review and from Brian Addison at the Long Beach Post/FoodBeast- who did not confirm this story with us and then posted half truths – the very thing he has accused us of doing. On our menu- roughly 95% is house made- starting with a potato lets say- which we cut, season and cook- and make potato salad. We make quiche- as in crack each egg and measure spices and cream, and I put it in a pie crust that was made elsewhere (isn’t made here) We use the best product I can buy to make the items on the menu- some of them again, come from other companies, vendors, establishments just like any other place you eat at. Because that’s how the chicken works too. We use a ready made chicken – and always have – even before we decided to go with a certain chain as opposed to a food distributor brand fried chicken.Your local coffee place in Long Beach maybe selling you (does sell actually) Rossmore pastry or Babettes pastry and breads you had that lunch sandwich on and if you ask where it comes from they tell you- but it isn’t on their menu. We have sold biscuits to places and those places used them as their ‘made from scratch’ biscuits. Integrity- despite this wave of ‘Popeyegate’, is what my food is about – no matter what you want to say. I outsource very few items. Outsourcing is when a restaurant brings in a fully cooked or ready made product which if you count all the frozen things Sysco provides to pop in an oven and serve, is alot. The things we say we make from scratch, we do and that is most of what we serve. We always have said where we get the things we don’t make here- who ever is claiming we didn’t isn’t being honest. And we have never claimed we make each and every item. We do use some ready to go products as ingredients for items on our menu.The yelp person was not only told where we source our chicken from, when he said he didn’t like it, we bought his meal. As for ‘plastering it on the menu’, we don’t, just like every other place you eat – that doesn’t mean it isn’t transparent- we don’t list the ready made Kielbasa or hot links or puff pastry or pie shells or baguette- I could go on – because we bring the items in- ready made- and then use them as ingredients in a dish – like the chicken – and make something that is then made here – an original dish we thought up- like the chicken slider with a head of cabbage we grated to make the wasabi cole slaw and the raw tomatoes we cooked down for 3 hours to make the tomato jam and flour that went into a mixer and became a biscuit and the chicken we bring in to put with all that.And we charge for the ingredients and labor that goes into that dish. We will continue our business the same way we have always done- honest that we make nearly all from scratch, saying what we do make from scratch, and when we can’t, we will use the second best thing available to us. And we will be glad to let you know which is which- just like we always have.
Since Popeyesgate broke, both negative and positive reviews have been posted to the restaurant’s Yelp page. One person comically pointed out that Sweet Dixie could have been using Popeyes for a long time without anybody noticing.