Happy Father’s Day: Or, Chopo Chicken


by Joseph Suglia

Chopo Chicken in Chicago, Illinois: the most insulting eatery I have yet attended.

The dwellers of Lincoln Park were entranced by the parti-colored mural on the residential-street side of this eatery for three months before its vernissage. This makes the experience that I had all the more disheartening.

The place is grungy. The Styrofoam containers are flecked with filth, even before being loaded with the swill that is hawked here. Were they taken from the trash and reused? There are clean Styrofoam containers beneath the counter, if you ask for them.

The Yucca fries are cold and old. They taste like week-old French fries and are smothered in a bilious goo.

A man in a grime-sodden gown will take out a cleaver and hatchet a whole chicken into quarters. The chicken is encrusted with an anthracitic substance. The chicken is, strangely, almost meatless.

It is roadkill chicken. It looks like a chicken that was killed on the road. It looks as if the chicken, with Schopenhauerian exertion, strove to cross the road only to end up as faux-Peruvian cuisine at Chopo Chicken.

The portions are cafeteria-size. I understand well the fundamental principle of business: buy cheap and sell dear. It is clear that the gangsterish restaurateurs want to spend as little money as possible and charge as much money as possible. But if they want their restaurant to survive — and nine out ten restaurants go extinct — they have to offer something that people would want to eat or would want to eat again.



10 thoughts on “Happy Father’s Day: Or, Chopo Chicken

  1. Hi Joseph. I’m on food stamps, so I don’t even eat out. Funny, but in Southern Cal, Carl’s Jr takes food stamps. I wish we did that in Eugene. You’d know where to find me. BTW, did you read my latest posts? They’re pretty good. I went to church again today. Was treated very well. Had the gospel and a choc doughnut and some green grapes. I believe the world is really changing. I remember all too well the world under Bush — and under my conservative sis. My mother had just died when the Jesus freaks descended on me like vultures, eaters of carrion. But you can read about that on my own blog. Happy Father’s Day. Your Rob

  2. Your post says everything about the damage capitalism causes on us: “I understand well the fundamental principle of business: buy cheap and sell dear.” That is exactly it: produce larger quantities at lower costs in an overpopulated world — see Jonathan Franzen’s question of overpopulation in his novel Freedom –, pay miserable wages to the workers, treat them like slaves and mistreat animals for the sake of our own profit. I think I would only eat an animal again if I were in a place with absolutely no other choice available: death or survival.

      • I am glad of that. I really enjoyed your novel, but it would have been a lot easier for me to read it either as an e-book, or even better, on paper. Perhaps I am an old-fashioned woman. Most of the time I like to read books before I go to sleep, but also in places where I do not have Internet connection like parks and trains. So what I did was to copy all the chapters or tables from your blog and create my own e-book, but still the letter size was not right and it took me great effort to read all on my tablet. However, as I said, I enjoyed your novel.

  3. Pingback: Selected Essays and Squibs by Joseph Suglia: Table of Contents | Selected Essays and Squibs by Joseph Suglia

  4. Pingback: SELECTED ESSAYS AND SQUIBS by Joseph Suglia | Selected Essays and Squibs by Joseph Suglia

  5. Pingback: Selected Essays and Squibs by Joseph Suglia: Table of Contents | Selected Essays and Squibs by Joseph Suglia

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