An American fried chicken chain is opening its first restaurant in Essex today in a UK expansion.

Louisiana-inspired fast-food chain Popeyes made its UK debut when it opened a branch at Westfield shopping centre in Stratford in November.

The company has said it wants to open 350 restaurants nationwide by 2031.

Now the chain is opening its first dine-in restaurant in the UK today, with space for 46 seats, right here in Essex.

The new eatery in Chelmsford High Street joins a host of American and American-style restaurants which have unveiled branches in the Essex city recently.

Read more >>> American fast-food chain to open second UK restaurant in Essex high street

Taco Bell had a stealth venue there before reopening sites in London, Five Guys also has a site in the city and most recently TGI Fridays opened a restaurant there last month.

Previously, Tom Crowley, CEO at Popeyes UK, said: “We’ve been blown away by the UK’s response to Popeyes, with guests queuing for hours to try it.

“Our legendary menu and Southern spirit have captured the capital already, and we look forward to building on that with the launch of Chelmsford.

“Chelmsford was the perfect place for our first sit-down restaurant; it’s close to London but sits at the very heart of Essex, which is such a vibrant part of the UK with a close-knit community.”

Chelmsford's Popeyes opens from 10.30 am today with a queue opening from 9am. 

To celebrate the opening there will also be a party with a brass band set to play.

Popeyes plans to open its next store further afield in Romford in July.