Popeyes restaurant planned for prominent SE Portland spot next year

Popeye's future location

The former Burger King at 1525 SE Grand Ave. in Portland is slated to become a Popeye's location. The site, near Multnomah County's main offices at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge, has been vacant for years and has become blighted. Mike Rogoway/The Oregonian

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A Vancouver fast-food franchisee plans to bring a Popeyes restaurant to a long-vacant Southeast Portland site at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge, potentially enlivening a blighted Grand Avenue spot that used to host a Burger King.

“We’re in the permitting process, and will then build out the former Burger King building as a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen,” said Luke Pisors, CEO of Popeyes franchisee Ambrosia QSR, in an email Thursday. “We hope to be open for business sometime in 2024, but it’s hard to be any more specific this far out.”

Popeyes already has a dozen locations in the Portland area serving its fried chicken and popular chicken sandwiches. Ambrosia operates more than 200 fast-food franchises in the Northwest, including Popeyes, Burger King and Arby’s.

The new Popeyes location at 1525 S.E. Grand Ave., vacant for years since the Burger King building and drive-thru closed, has become a conspicuous eyesore – a fenced- prime full block just across from the seat of the Multnomah County government. A fire damaged the building in June 2020.

Popeyes locations elsewhere around Portland are big draws, bringing steady traffic that could help resuscitate the location. A “Coming Soon” sign at the Grand Avenue location has already attracted a good deal of attention and speculation online.

Portland tightly restricts the development of new drive-thru locations to encourage more walkable neighborhoods. The restrictions don’t apply to existing drive-thrus.

Permit filings show Ambrosia QSR has been working on plans to revive the site since October. Key permits are currently under review with the city.

Update: This article has been updated to note the 2020 fire and to omit a reference to the site’s potential continued use as a drive-thru under city code.

-- Mike Rogoway | mrogoway@oregonian.com |

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