This week my buddy Terry let me know that there’s a new official entrant in the “Chicken Sandwich Wars” and it would potentially be a formidable one — Church’s Chicken (a real honest-to-goodness yummy chicken place) has introduced their version of Popeye’s incredible chicken sandwich (the one that started the war in the first place) and they offer it in both regular and spicy. So, yesterday I made the drive out to the nearest one, (about 20+ minutes each way) But it was worth the drive. Here’s my quick review:
It’s Actually Very Good, But….
It’s considerably better than McDonalds new chicken sandwich (which is just an improvement on McDonald’s old chicken sandwich), and almost on par with other top new chicken sandwiches from Burger King or KFC. The bun is really nice, the chicken itself is crunchy and quite yummy. The pickles? Sublime! And their sauce is so good, you could probably call it great.
So, why is it only “Almost on par” with the others?
Taste wise, it actually is on par with the top picks, but the physical size of the chicken itself is much smaller. The sandwich I got looked nothing like that Church’s photo above from their web site. It’s more like the size of a McDonald’s chicken sandwich, so it’s missing that wonderful “bigness” that the KFC, Zaxby’s, Burger King and of course Popeye’s all have in common. No chicken was sticking out the sides of the bun and it was about half as tall as that photo above makes it look. If you want to go against Popeye’s, you gotta go big (like most of the other entrants did), but sadly, they didn’t.
There could be legit reasons for this
I could have just gotten a smaller chicken patty by the luck of the draw (they can’t be all the exact same size, right?), and the person right after me or before could have gotten a big ol’ honkin’ piece of chicken, but I can only go by what I was served. A friend suggested perhaps they’ve cut back on their size because of the chicken shortage, but I don’t think they’d let the size and quality of a new product drop like that — I think they’d rather say “we’re sold out” than “we’re shrinking the size to keep from running out” But, again, I could have just gotten a rare smaller piece, but I’m concerned that’s not the case, and that it is just a smaller sandwich overall.
So, in the context of the larger war, where does Church’s rank?
I’ve always liked Church’s chicken, and if the chicken in their chicken sandwich were bigger, I would rank it right up there — probably at least tied with Burger King and KFC, and with such a great sauce it might have even over-taken them (Church’s sauce is better than both KFCs and BKs). However, based on the sandwich I received, I would have to rank it below Burger King and KFC (with Zaxby’s still way on top, along with Popeyes), but above McDonalds, and so far above Wendy’s that I can’t even include them in this with a straight face. I just don’t know what happened to Wendy’s in this war. (They brought a knife to a gun fight).
So, in short, Church’s has a solid entry into the war. That being said, I wouldn’t make the long drive there again, passing by Burger King’s and KFCs and Zaxby’s along the way. Note: just a friendly reminder: Chick-fil-a is NOT in the Chicken Sandwich war (they did not create a new sandwich to go against Popeyes, who started the war). Yes, we all love them, but it’s “its own thing” with it’s own special taste (and small size, and no sauce unless you add it yourself, and just one pickle, etc.,) but for many people, that combination is magic and I get it. So, no need to defend them or mention how “Chick-fil-a is the best” down in the comments (or more likely, over on my Facebook page). If you’re drawn to doing it anyway, read this first.
Next week, Join Us At Outdoor Photography Conference
Here’s the official trailer (I haven’t had a chance to share this yet — hope you dig it).
It kicks off next Monday with a pre-conference session, and then it runs all Tuesday and Wednesday in two separate training tracks. Remember — you get full access to all these sessions for an entire year after the conference, so even if you can’t make it next week, you can watch it any time in the next full year, which is awesome.
Have a super great weekend everybody, and if you’ve got a Church’s Chicken near you, give their new sandwich a try and let me know what you think (and if your patty was as small as mine). LOL!!