Carali’s Rotisserie Chicken is slated to open at 211 S. Fifth St. | Photo by Caitlin Bowling

Jeffersontown restaurant Carali’s Rotisserie Chicken is expanding its footprint into downtown Louisville.

“Right now, everything is happening downtown,” said co-owner Rafael Dapello, noting that many people work in the Central Business District and the reopened Kentucky International Convention Center is bringing thousands of visitors downtown. “Downtown right now is a good area to put our food in.”

Carali’s Rotisserie Chicken will replace FireFresh BBQ, which recently closed its downtown location at 211 S. Fifth St. without notice, Insider reported in August.

Dapello said he expected to open in early to mid-November after the storefront is touched up a bit. It will seat somewhere between 40 to 55.

Dapello opened Carali’s Rotisserie Chicken, at 9148 Taylorsville Road, with co-owner Carlos Arieta roughly two years ago. Both have more than a decade of experience in restaurants, ranging from fast food to sit-down establishments.

Rotisserie Chicken with Chaufa Rice and three siganture sauces | Courtesy of Caralis Rotisserie Chicken

For those who haven’t eaten at Carali’s Rotisserie Chicken, the chicken is not like that found on the shelves of grocery stores — it’s Peruvian. The chicken is hormone free and covered in Peruvian spices.

The restaurant’s website touts its chicken as “so good, you don’t need any sauces,” but also that its sauces are so good, customers should smother their food in them.

“The chicken in my country is rotisserie chicken cooked by charcoal only; it’s very popular,” said Dapello, a Peru native who moved to Louisville 18 years ago. “It’s incredible.”

In cities in Peru, he said, two or three businesses selling rotisserie chicken will operate in the same block, and each will be busy.

In addition to the traditional Peruvian rotisserie chicken, the menu includes chaufa rice, yuca fries and Crazy Lomo, a beef stir-fry dish. The menu isn’t strictly Peruvian, however; it also features a pulled chicken sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise, a salad with pulled chicken, black beans and tortilla strips, and sides of green beans, broccoli and chicken soup.

Carali’s Rotisserie Chicken is a fast-casual restaurant. In Jeffersontown, “maybe 40 percent of our business is done in carryout and delivery,” Dapello said.

The owners have not decided if they will offer delivery downtown, but at least to start, they plan to focus solely on dine-in and carry-out business. The restaurant owners plan to hire at least a dozen new employees to staff the new location.

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Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]