US Ambassador Sung Kim and Kuya J Group chairman Lowell Yu.
Ready for Popeyes!
THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee (The Philippine Star) - June 14, 2019 - 12:00am

In 1996, I visited my uncle, Ambassador Manuel Teehankee or Tito Dondi as I fondly call him, in New York.

At the time, Rent was the hottest Broadway musical and my uncle was able to secure tickets for my sister and me. He asked me to choose a restaurant where we could have dinner before or after watching the musical.

Lowell Yu and Kuya J Group COO Gretz Rivera.

I told him to forget those expensive restaurants and we should just go to Popeyes. Tito Dondi had lived in New York for years but did not know what Popeyes was. Neither did my other uncle who was with us. (It was my mother who told me to try Popeyes if ever I hit the East Coast and I have been going to Popeyes ever since.)

So that night, I went to Popeyes and had a take out of chicken and biscuits to eat at Tito Dondi’s apartment before hitting the theater.  My two uncles were dumbfounded about how good those fried chicken and biscuits (which I drizzled with honey) were.  Tito Dondi even remarked, “I can’t believe I’ve lived here for so many years and never even tried Popeyes. Now it’s my favorite!”

Philippine National Bank SVP Christian Jerome Dobles and Kuya J Group CFO Francis Reyes.

Since then, I hit Popeyes in any country that has it. It is undoubtedly my favorite fried chicken ever. Good news: I don’t have to go far as the restaurant is now back in Manila!

During its opening in ArcoVia City in Pasig City, Popeyes also unveiled for the first time its new global restaurant image, which will be rolled out to other restaurants worldwide. This was a collaborative effort between Popeyes Philippines and Popeyes US.

Restaurant Brands International (RBI) Asia Pacific president Naheem Khan, area franchise lead Divij Sood and head of marketing Benjamin Klitus.

Present at the event, formally launched by Kuya J Group CFO Francis Reyes, were US Ambassador Sung Kim and showbiz personalities like Pops Fernandez, Iza Calzado, Matteo Guidicelli and Jed Madela.

Guests enjoyed the restaurant’s signature fried chicken that’s juicy and not greasy, made fresh daily, and has that distinct Cajun-inspired flavors from Louisiana. Also introduced were two new treats: the hazelnut and white chocolate biscuits, which can be paired with fried chicken or can be served as dessert; and Popeyes Spaghetti, a sweet, meaty meal that’s exclusive to the Philippines.  All these will be available together with the other Popeyes favorites such as its original honey biscuits, Cajun rice and chicken tenders.

(From left) Comisario Central Inc. COO Anton Dator, iCorner GM Don Tirol, Popeyes COO Rami Chahwan and Kuya J COO Richard Joseph Li.

Kuya J Group is the parent company of Filipino casual dining restaurant chain Kuya J. The group also owns concept stores Isla Sugbu Seafood City, Tsay Cheng Chinese Cuisine, Majestic Restaurant, and has agreed to locally operate and manage Popeyes.

Founded in New Orleans in 1972, Popeyes distinguishes itself with a unique New-Orleans style menu featuring spicy chicken, fried shrimp and other regional items. It is one of the world’s largest chicken quick-service restaurants with over 3,000 branches around the world.

JM Rodriguez, Jaya and Pops Fernandez.

No one is happier than me with the opening of my favorite fried chicken chain. It will be opening several more branches within the year and I’ll definitely be one of the best customers!

(For more information, visit, and

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