MIAMI – Pollo Tropical has opened the first of five new restaurants with franchisee El Machetazo in Panama. This new restaurant is located in the Albrook Mall in Panama City, Panama’s largest shopping center.

A family-owned company founded more than 40 years ago by the late Juan Ramón Poll Cabrera, El Machetazo is considered one of the most important retail companies in Panama. Among its holdings are 12 hypermarkets of the same name that operate throughout Panama and employ more than 3,000 people.

“Panama is an established banking, shipping and tourism-based economy that has seen phenomenal growth in recent years,” said Marc Mushkin, senior vice president of international development for Pollo Tropical. “It also shares strong cultural and business connections with Pollo Tropical’s hometown of Miami.”

The new Pollo Tropical serves the brand’s flame-grilled marinated chicken, roast pork, guava barbecue ribs and side dishes. Other menu favorites include Pollo Tropical’s TropiChop – a bowl of grilled chicken breast, pork or vegetables served on top of white or yellow rice and covered a choice of salsas. The menu also includes Caribbean chicken soup, wraps, sandwiches and more.

El Machetazo has two free-standing Pollo Tropical units currently under construction in the Panama City area. The first will open at the Versalles development and the second will be located at the Brisas del Golf Shopping Center, located in Panama City’s trendy east side. Additionally, El Machetazo has an in-line Pollo Tropical model in development in the famous Panama City Multi-Plaza shopping center.

Pollo Tropical owns and operates approximately 90 locations in Florida and Georgia, has more than 30 international franchised locations in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Trinidad, Venezuela, and Costa Rica and has agreements in place for additional franchise restaurants in Guatemala, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. Pollo Tropical also has three licensed units located on college campuses in Florida.

Pollo Tropical is part of Fiesta Restaurant Group Inc., which also owns the Taco Cabana restaurant chain.