BOSTON – You’d think the overzealous accolades surrounding Popeyes crispy chicken sandwich on social media would bolster sales locally. Never mind the fact that it’s just a fried chicken sandwich. Widespread demand has caused national shortages, resulting in the 47-year-old chain temporarily removing the coveted item from its menu and drawing the ire of poultry starved aficionados from coast to coast; proving once again that when there’s hype, there’s Cajun-spiced dyslipidemia (sorry, Popeyes; I was born a Crown Fried Chicken man and I shall die a Crown Fried Chicken man.)

There’s approximately 6 or 7 different Popeyes locations. And everytime I’ve been in one, they’ve never seemed to hurt for business. Particularly in the Kenmore Square location, which seems to have housed everyone from career alcoholics to highly specialized oncology directors at least once a week in their bright orange bench seats since 2001. It was the great equalizer, providing poultry of unknown origin and cutting great swaths across economic and social divides. It was the fast food equivalent of a group “Kumbaya” singalong; only fueled by crispy batter and (more frequently than not) drunken hubris.

And now it’s mysteriously closed.

According to Boston magazine, multiple Twitter accounts have reported that the Brookline St location appears shuttered, with numerous calls to the restaurant going unanswered (which has obviously never happened at a fast food restaurant before.)

Is it too early to call Popeyes a Kenmore Square institution? It depends on how you define 'institution.' And it depends on how you define 'Kenmore Square.' The Rat was an institution. Nemo’s was an institution. Crossroads was an institution. And while all three have long since ceased to exist, so has Kenmore Square. But Popeyes? An institution?

Only if you remember the 2011 Red Sox season. I don’t. But that’s the year in which the Boston Globe blamed the team’s failures in part on three starting pitchers (Josh Beckett, John Lackey, and Jon Lester) who would prefer to munch on crispy strips of Cajun spiced goodness and pound beers in the clubhouse during games. It was a criticism that grew widespread, with even Popeyes joining in on the joke. The result was a banner hoisted over the Kenmore Popeyes during the 2012 season opener proclaiming “4 out of 5 Pitchers Prefer Our Chicken BEST.”

Proving that if it was good enough for multi-millionaire athletes, it was good enough for hoi polloi like me or you. Someone's singing up there, Popeyes. Oh lord, someone's singing.

Image via Flickr / theimpulsivebuy