Confessions of a Chicken Sandwich Hipster

Eric Medlin

History instructor. Writer. Rising star in the world of affordable housing.

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10 Responses

  1. Michael Cain says:

    If you’re in Fort Collins, Comet Chicken in Old Town. When the owners of long-time Big Al’s Burgers and Dogs decided to expand their offerings, they left the burger place unchanged and opened a new chicken place down the block. Locally-sourced chicken, their own take on hand breading, and because they inherited a partial liquor license with the building, a variety of locally-brewed beers on tap. Odell’s 90 Shilling ale is always good.Report

  2. How weird to learn public perception is that fast food chicken sandwiches are…new? I had to Google because I could not believe this to be true, only to find that McDonalds, which has sold both grilled and fried chicken sandwiches (including some in the Chick-fil-a mold) for decades, was claiming to “have finally begun selling a fried chicken sandwich” in 2019 too. The Internet seems to lead to history being rewritten at times. Bizarre, and somewhat disturbing to be honest. Brilliant marketing by Popeyes, I suppose, but the rest of the world needs to have their brains checked for defects.

    IDK man, I’ve been ordering them for years. I didn’t eat red meat for quite some time in high school and into my 20’s (which was LONG AGO for me) and lived on chicken sandwiches. There were deep fried chicken sandwiches long before the grilled ones, and this one – which I recall, because I worked at Rax at this time, was revolutionary, although we still sold MORE fried chicken sandwiches than grilled ones – came out in 1989:

    Must shout out Carl’s Jr Santa Fe chicken sandwich here, which is pretty yummy and started being sold in 1991.

  3. Jaybird says:

    Back in 2019, we (my co-workers with whom I regularly went to Chick-fil-A) heard all of the kerfuffle over the Popeye’s chicken sandwich and mocked it. “It’s not going to be better than Chick-fil-A!”, we said to each other. I went and got one. “Hrm”, I thought to myself. “I need to get everybody else one of these.”

    I came back with a few of them and we all sat down and took a big bite and it was mostly in silence. At the end of the session, my boss said “If I’m at Chick-fil-A, I’m having a board meeting about this sandwich.”

    Then Popeye’s ran out and, for reasons I cannot comprehend, took almost half a year to bring it back.

    Since then, I’ve had many more of the things and the main thing I’ve noticed is that there is a *LOT* of variance. Some days you’ll get one that will make you say “Chick-fil-A is in trouble!” and some days you’ll get one that will leave you saying “I should have gone to Chick-fil-A.”

    Chick-fil-A apparently failed to have that board meeting because they didn’t do anything. They didn’t even bring back the spicy chicken breakfast biscuit (which, lemme tell ya, would have re-cemented them as the emperors of the chicken sandwich).

    I’m not surprised that a bunch of other restaurant board rooms said “we need to have a meeting”, though. Good for them. (The KFC spicy chicken sandwich was merely okay, though. We need a place that refuses to shy away from spicy instead of merely adding a little more black pepper than previously inclined.)Report

  4. Marchmaine says:

    I suppose it would be a little like thinking that PFChang’s invented Chinese food… the Chik-fil-A clones are the PFChang’s to the original chicken patties we used to get. They are different and better than what came before. And after PFChang’s came PEI WEI and like all things we will have a new baseline of indifferent until someone sells us retro-patties…

    I suppose I’d add gloss that there have always been good deep fried batter-crusted chicken sandwiches here and there… but not nationally and not on every street corner.

    Some of the real innovation I’m seeing now is happening with Food Trucks… which I’m expecting to see more parlayed into regional then national chains of one thing done gooder.Report

  5. Kazzy says:

    On the flip side, what often happens when a food trend explodes is that quote-unquote real restaurants will dive into the pool and often serve as amazing reservoirs of innovation. So, yes, the homogenization that can arise in the fast food or fast casual market can be frustrating but if your local restaurant with a competent chef says, “Well, I guess we need a fried chicken sandwich, too,” and they do so in their own way, well now, they have not only improved their menu but possibly are now offering a superior option.Report

  6. Hei Lun Chan says:

    I still like the Chick-Fil-A sandwich the most. I usually get the spicy version and what I like about the Chick-Fil-A one is that they’re the only place I remember that the spicy is part of the chicken and not just a sauce added to it. Also their customer service is great and their sides are very good.

    Popeye’s is good but all their sides are horrible and their chicken strips is like 90% breading.

    KFC has the worst one that I’ve tried, which is unexpected as they’re specifically a chicken place.Report

  7. b-psycho says:

    I never was big on chicken sandwiches myself. I’ve had good ones, but usually when I want fried chicken doesn’t converge also on me wanting a sandwich.

    The Popeye’s one is good, especially the spicy version (I don’t know why anyone would go to Popeye’s and order mild). KFC’s chicken sandwich I think is Meh but I’m biased because I vastly prefer their original recipe chicken over the extra crispy (they claim it’s the same spices, just tastes like a lie to me). And I haven’t been to Chik-fil-a in years for multiple reasons.

    Fried chicken sandwiches in general though are better than grilled chicken sandwiches. For some reason people act like you don’t have to season grilled chicken?Report

  8. John Puccio says:

    The hot chicken at Hattie B’s in Nashville has ruined fast food chicken for me anywhere else.

    Similar to how I just stopped eating BBQ in the Northeast after hitting 3 joints in Lockhart, Texas.Report

  9. Thank you for nice informationReport