Wining & Dining
Local Contenders in the Great Fried Chicken Sandwich War
11/1/2019 11:00:00 AM
Chicken Sandwich

The world might have survived The Great Fried Chicken Sandwich War of 2019, but we will carry the battle scars with us for the rest of our days. Bitter words were spoken, pitting brother against brother, cousin against cousin, that one friend from high school who won't stop selling essential oils on Facebook against that other friend from high school with a cosmetics side hustle.

It wasn’t pretty, but we got through it.

Whether you think Popeyes has the best chicken sandwich or Chick-fil-A is the poultry king, it's all just fast food. Sure, it might be tasty, but it doesn’t matter how well either of them market their sandwiches. At the end of the day, fast food is still fast food.

We live in Louisiana, where the only thing better than our food is nothing. Why limit ourselves to whatever the national chains are offering the rest of the country? Nothing will ever be better than what our local chefs cook up when they’re bored and looking for something to do. Or, you know, when they’re tired of hearing about which drive-thru chicken joint has the best sandwich.

The real winners of The Great Fried Chicken Sandwich War were the people of Southwest Louisiana, who now have better options than ever before. While everyone else wasted gasoline in long drive-thru lines, several local restaurants got busy in their kitchens and created culinary masterpieces. Some are fancier than others, with complex flavor profiles and sophisticated ingredients, while others are simpler and prepared in a down-home style where the chicken is the star of the show.

First up, we have the Who Do Chicken Sandwich at Nina P’s Cafe (1600 W. McNeese Street). A fried chicken breast is served on a toasted sesame seed bun, topped with bacon, pepper jack cheese, and dressed with jalapeño mayo, pepper jelly mayo, and lettuce.

1910 (949 Ryan Street) tossed its hat into the fried chicken sandwich ring with a simple, delicious sandwich featuring brown butter and Tabasco buffalo sauce with Nuke’s bacon, gorgonzola cheese, and house-made pickles. Bonus: you can order it through Waitr.

Family Scratch (911 N. Shattuck Street) scrapped the white meat of the traditional chicken breast in favor of the moister thigh. It’s battered in their special batter blend, deep-fried, and served on brioche toast with whatever toppings you want. They also offer a ton of sauces with names like Baby Bacc BBQ, Shapoppin Pineapple, Bussin Buffalo, and house-made jalapeño mayo. Basically, they’ll do the sandwich up any way you like.

Calla (1400 Market Street) entered the arena with a sandwich featuring a massive buttermilk fried chicken breast topped with blood orange/Thai-chili chicken fat mayo, pickles, and chicken-chili oil. Unfortunately, it was only available during lunch on Thursdays and has since been discontinued. You snooze, you lose.

If it helps, rumor has it The Creole Spoon (2502 Broad Street) has also developed a mean chicken sandwich; PG’s Diner (3048 Gerstner Memorial) has one; and there are more local chicken sandwiches out there, just waiting to rescue all of us from the tyranny of the two-party chicken system of Popeyes and Chick-fil-A. We’re better than that.

We’ve only scratched the surface of what’s available in Lake Charles alone. With a little exploring, you’re bound to find even more delicious options all across Southwest Louisiana. Give it a try. Heed the call of adventure and go wherever the road takes you, even if you end up in Southeast Texas. If you can't find a good chicken sandwich over there, you can at least grab some decent barbecue.

Good food is where you find it, after all.

Posted by: Kristian Bland | Submit comment | Tell a friend




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