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Pollos La Carbonera

Posted by MEZ 10 Aug 2010 13 Comments

*UPDATED with more pictures from TUF*

Pollos La Carbonera is that bright orange and yellow building you pass right near the Fayetteville exit of I-147. Bull City Wings was its last incarnation, but now it’s a Mexican stand with a drive-through window around the side and another window up front to order from on foot. There are a few picnic tables to sit at that provide a nice view of downtown and a breeze. Carpe Durham had some good comments on the food soon after they opened.

You can only get there by car if you are heading south on Fayetteville on the overpass. There are two drive-thru lanes but use the one on the right—-the car on the left side is parked there by one of the employees. Don’t be fooled by the handwritten menu posted by the drive-thru window.

They have a larger menu that the cashier will hand over of tacos, tortas, hamburgers with torta-like toppings, quesadillas and sincronizada (the “cheese-covered” section!), gorditas, huaraches, and . . . charbroiled chicken platters! You didn’t notice that “Best Charbroiled Chicken in NC” slogan on the sign, did you? Even the chickens are excited about it.

After trying their chicken taco (in the background), I’m inclined to agree.

It’s definitely great charbroiled chicken, and an interesting change from the marinated chicken common to most tacos. I think the full platter of chicken would be pretty darn good. Both tacos come topped with cilantro and onions, and the taco in the forefront is barbacoa. The meat was somewhat fatty and chewy and tossed in a very light barbecue sauce. Both tacos held up well with only one tortilla to support them. The tortillas definitely seemed fresh and were nicely browned.

I also dug the gordita beneath these copious toppings.

It was at least a third of an inch thick and really tasty. The meat, carne azada, was less impressive as it was still a bit chewy and fatty as it was in the barbacoa version. It had a decent level of spice but not a lot of flavor. The gordita was also topped with beans, jalapenos, lettuce, cilantro, onions, and tomato. Both the tacos and the gordita came with a side of either salsa roja or verde. I asked for the spiciest and the cashier said they were both about the same level of spicy, which I must say, was pretty hot at first but mellowed out after I’d been eating for a while. I would hazard a guess that roasted habaneros were involved in the red one.

Pollos La Carbonera offered all the standard taco-stand meats including lengua, pastor, and chorizo. I can’t remember any of the others, but I do remember that those tortas looked interesting, especially the one that came with an egg as one of the fillings.

Here’s one of their tortas:

And a gratuitous picture of tacos. Mmm, tacos.

Pollos La Carbonera
606 Fayetteville Road
Downtown Durham
$2–$8 per item

Reviewed 7.30.10.


  • apathy said:

    I love this place. Their chargrilled chicken IS the best, the tacos are always perfect. I haven’t actually ventured beyond the tacos de pollo, but the pictures of the tortas make me want to.


  • sallie said:

    the chicken is awesome. and the whole cut up chicken with sides comes with sauces and cactus salad that are tasty. the only thing I don’t like is the rice.


  • NOK said:

    Stopped by for lunch today. The 1/4 chicken platter is an amazing value at $4.99, and the tortas and burgers coming off the grill looked great too. Very nice staff, and what looked like a good lunchtime crowd. Need to go back and try some more things.


  • KW said:

    You have to try the chicken tacos. Best in the area by far. We also got a pastor torta that was as big as my head. The pastor was just ok, not on par with La Vaquita’s, so I’m betting a chicken torta would be the better order. After eating lunch here, I seriously contemplated going back for dinner, that’s how good it was.

    I am definitely adding this place into my rotation of tacquerias.


  • Jim said:

    Wow…those tacos con pollo are simply the best in the area. Thanks for the recommendation!


  • carlos said:

    la verdad esta comida nada k ver a nadie se la recomiendo me encontre una cucaracha en un pollo asado k compre hace una semana la verdad k asco la verdad no le sugiero a nadie k compre ahi si no hay ingiene en ese lugar


    TSQ75 replies on October 26th, 2010 at 3:49 pm:

    …pues no espere una semana entera para comerse el pollo. Ahora, Quien es asqueroso? Y quien no sabe ni escribir?


  • George Vaughan said:

    Stopped by on Saturday for lunch. Place was closed. Anyone know the status?


  • Julie said:

    Ate here about a month ago and my chicken taco was delicious, but very spicy. I wasn’t sure if the chicken itself was spicy, or it was the salsa I poured all over (or both). I found the taco al pastor to be a little dry, but then La Superior’s is my favorite, and theirs is very saucy.

    George: are you sure they were closed? They really don’t look very open from the outside. We ended up parking and going to the walk up counter to order.


    George Vaughan replies on September 15th, 2010 at 6:29 pm:

    There was a sign in the window that said “closed.” It was about ten minutes before noon on Saturday.


    KW replies on September 16th, 2010 at 10:46 am:

    I was there on Friday for dinner and they had run out of everything but the chicken platters.

    I hope this is a temporary thing, as the chicken platter is probably the best deal in Durham. Awesome chicken, great beans and rice, and the potato salad was delicious too. All for 5 bucks.

    BTW, the chicken is not spicy but the salsas are indeed very spicy.


  • edgar said:

    las mentiras de carlos es por los celos de la comida de la carbonera yo trabajo en la carbonera y no ay ninguna cucaracha adentro porque yo personalmente limpio todas las manana’s y todo el dia entonces ablame claro y vez al restaurante.


  • MEZ (author) said:

    Sadly, I passed by Pollos La Carbonera last night, and it was closed down. Signs are gone and it’s up for lease. Goodbye tasty charbroiled chicken!


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