‘This was just a test, a temporary promotion, it was never going to be here long term. Once all the chicken around the country is gone, there will be NO MORE CHICKEN SANDWICHES!!’ It was 10:12 am on a Saturday morning when the manager of Popeyes came to the drive-thru and said this.
* 2 minutes earlier*
With only 20 minutes until opening and 12 cars in front of me, I realized that getting the infamous chicken sandwich would be easier than I expected. But SPOILER ALERT…it wasn’t. Shortly after arriving, a manager said that the 10:30 opening would now be 11:00 due to the new shipment of chicken needing more time to thaw.
A riot commenced by this one guy 2 cars in front of me. He was clearly upset, cursing and blowing his horn, then aggressively pulling out of the parking lot. I was un-bothered by this…. peace out dude, more chicken sammies for the rest of us.
The manager continued: ‘We are doing our best, it’s been a long week. But so you know, this was just a test, a temporary promotion, it was never going to be here long term. Once all the chicken around the country is gone, they are taking it off the menu.’
I immediately got on my phone to rant and share this news with all 300 of my Facebook friends. Shock and anger was shown by absolutely no one..so I continued to wait because COLO, chicken only lives once.
* 1 hour later*
I had a bag full of sandwiches and so much hope for my future. During my adventure, a friend was driving to competing restaurants getting their sandwiches for us to try. We then gathered our flock and started Operation Chicken Challenge.
The plan: to try the spicy and regular versions of chicken sandwiches from Popeyes, Chick-fil-A, Zaxbys, and Burger King (I know BK is random, but they’ve been neutral in this fight and every experiment should have a control).
TLDR (too long didnt read) let’s get to the rankings:
1 (best) - 7 (worst)
#7 - Burger King Regular
Pros: It was available to get for this challenge.
Cons: It wasn’t free, had too much mayo, and they need to change the fryer oil, #greasy. There was half a slice of tomato on it so I wasn’t sure if that was a mistake, or if they’ re just stingy with toppings.
#6 - Burger King Spicy
Pros: It was seasoned with a spice of some kind…what it was I’m not sure.
Cons: Lacked spicy flavor, so dry it reminded me of middle school cafeteria food, like the pre- packaged fake fried chicken you buy in bulk.
Now onto the controversial: in a tie for #5/4 Chick-fil-a and Popeyes Regular
Chick-fil-A: This tasted like the cook tried to channel the spirit of their ancestor hoping to hear their recipe for fried chicken, but the Ouija board was broken. They tried their best, the chicken was fried a little harder than normal, but it still felt like they prepared it for someone who takes their dentures out after eating.
Popeyes: The first bite felt like that moment when I found out that Santa, the Easter Bunny and Kim Kardashians marriage to Kris Humphries wasn’t real.
It was disappointing, the skin was peeling off, and it was missing pickles. The meat was soft, so I did not get the crunch that I was prepared for after watching reviews online. What saved it was the flavor of the bun, the seasoning and texture of the chicken.
#3 - Chick-fil-a Spicy
Pros: The seasoning on this thing was fire…literally, my mouth was burning but it had the most flavor.
Cons: They oppose same sex marriage. I should have given them the #7 they deserve, but it tasted better than the Popeyes spicy. Since my friend bought this (after I told her not to) I ate it, and tried to be fair by only taking them down a rank.
#2 - Popeyes Spicy
I was rooting for you, WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU, how dare you!!
Pros: Bun nicely toasted, pickles were present, chicken breast was crunchy and had a moist texture. As mentioned above, the Chick-fil-A spicy was actually better, but I pushed Popeyes up since they are inclusive of all human beings.
Cons: Where’s the spice, I didn’t taste any; the meat was smaller than the bun itself and was lacking sauce.
#1 - Zaxby’s (Winner winner…you know the rest)
Pros: Large toasted bun, good schmear of mayo, thick tomato, crisp lettuce. The chicken was fried well, had tender meat and was steamy when I bit into it. It was the only one that looked like the person making it wasn’t rushing.
Cons: They do not have a spicy fried option on the menu, and there are limited locations in Hampton Roads; 3 on the Southside and 3 on the Peninsula.
2,000 calories, stomach pain and meat sweats later I was done. I came, I waited, and I ate. Did I conquer?
If that means waiting in line for long periods of time to buy a mediocre $4 sandwich, that was hyped up by people who may have questionable taste-buds…then yes, we all get winning participation trophies!