Chicken Sandwich Challenge: Popeye's, Chick Fil A, Wendy's
So I've been wanting to do this review for quite some time and finally decided to do it. For years Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich was my one of my favorites if not the favorite. This was prior to Chick Fil A arriving in Chicago (I was excited for their arrival because I ate Chick Fil A plenty of times when I was residing in Atlanta) and Popeye's recent growth in popularity with their chicken sandwich.
Part of the reason it took me so long to do this challenge is because Popeye's sandwich was always sold out or the line to get one was way too ridiculous. Plus based on the first time I tried it I didn't think it was that great and having to wait in line for mediocrity just isn't my thing. Some people may or may not remember this, but when Popeye's first introduced their chicken sandwich the spicy chicken sandwich did not have a spicy chicken patty. Instead it had a mild patty with spicy mayonnaise. That was pretty wack IMO. Plenty of Popeye's enthusiasts were mildly disappointed that one of the the masters of spicy chicken would have a spicy chicken sandwich with a mild tasting patty and spicy mayo to give it the spicy connotation. Popeye's likely realized they made a mistake and had to go back to the drawing board.
When they re-introduced their spicy chicken sandwich a few months later it now has a spicy chicken patty and Black Twitter's support. This could be the reason why they may have labeled it "Popeye's New Chicken Sandwich". Upon re-introduction of their spicy chicken sandwich everything else other than the chicken patty was the same...Toasted Brioche bun, pickles, and spicy mayo. This became an enormously popular sandwich. Part of the reason I think it became so popular was because it was more accessible to neighborhoods (at least in Chicago) of people who typically eat fast food without having as much access to a legitimate benchmark like Chick Fil A to draw a solid comparison. It's crazy that people were obsessed with this sando to the point they were actually committing acts of violence toward each other just to get one. Ignorance is bliss and apparently some ignorant people wanted to enjoy what they deem as bliss with this sandwich a little bit too much (smh). Nevertheless, it's a really good sandwich. In my opinion it's not the best in this challenge, but still really good.
Here are my CSC rankings and why...
After reading the rankings scroll down for more video of each individual sandwich.
Disclaimer: No violent acts were committed by me when acquiring sandwiches for tasting.
1. Chick Fil A: They didn't invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich. Perfectly delicious seasoning, nicely sized chicken patty, perfectly proportioned bun, and crunchy pickles. It even tastes great without condiments. When I do add condiments I typically choose from their vast array of sauces. Typically it's Chick Fil A sauce or Honey BBQ Sauce along with either hot sauce, or yellow mustard, or mayo or all of the above depending on my mood. Regardless of whether you use condiments or not they simply make a damn good sandwich!
2. Popeye's: Great sandwich! The chicken patty is nice thick, battered & breaded properly, seasoned properly and is spicy. The pickles are good, but not as good as Chick Fil A's. Although, a Brioche bun is often seen as a higher end bun than a traditional hamburger bun it get's in the way and takes away from the thick well seasoned spicy chicken patty. Going into this challenge I thought this sandwich would be a distant 2nd based on my previous dealings, but upon further review is not very far behind Chick Fil A's spicy chicken sandwich. It's still finishing 2nd; just not a distant 2nd.
3. Wendy's: This sandwich used to be so good! It's still decent, but not as good as Chick Fil A's or Popeye's sandwiches. As I mentioned earlier I remember this sandwich being better than the one we tasted in this challenge. The patty if I remember correctly was thicker and resembled what could be perceived as a boneless chicken breast. I also remember it being served with a slice of pepper jack cheese in addition to lettuce, tomato, and mayo on a kaiser roll. The patty now seems thinner and more processed like a lower quality "white meat" patty and does not give of the illusion that you may be eating a boneless chicken breast as much as the other two (even though all are likely processed). I included this sandwich in the challenge because not only do I remember it being really good when I last had it years ago, but thought it would grade out better than Popeye's (as I was lightweight hating). I certainly was wrong about that. This current version of Wendy's spicy chicken sandwich did not stand a chance.