Tip-Top: Nicaraguan fast food

If you’re traveling to Nicaragua and have a city-sculpted Type A personality, you’re probably bracing yourself for meals that can last hours. Occasional glimpses of the restaurant staff offer brief interludes scattered among hours of nothingness. It gets tough after a while, making it hard to resist the urge to dine ‘n’ dash. Tip-Top, Nicaragua’s answer to Popeye’s or KFC, will scratch your fast food itch.

The Tip-Top format is not unfamiliar. If you’ve ever been to a fast-food joint anywhere, you’ll have no trouble figuring out how to order and where to eat. Just step up to the counter, and order the fried delight of your choice (I went with fried chicken and French fries). Pay. Pick up your food. Grab a table, and eat. To get your drink, stop by the fountain drink station, but let the attendant do the work for you (a real perk!).

To call Tip-Top easy would be the grossest of understatements. But, there’s nothing shocking here: it’s fast food.

%Gallery-84836%So, why does it deserve some space on the (not exactly) limited internet? Well, as fast food goes, Tip-Top is pretty damned good. The chicken was juicy, and the fries did have a little bit of character (but could have used some more). The service was relatively fast, so you can eat it off the dashboard when going from one cigar factory to the next.

If you plan to stick around and eat at Tip-Top, the experience is a small pocket of Americana in Spanish. The plastic chairs bolted to the tables are no more comfortable than they are in the United States, and there is a “playland” where kids can bounce off nets and ride the slide at a less than impressive speed.

Skip Tip-Top if you’re looking for an impressive culinary experience: you won’t find it here. But, if you need to fill your stomach quickly, this is definitely worth a few seconds of your time.