Opinion: Viral Food: Trying Popeye’s Original Chicken Sandwich
As a celebration of National Sandwich Day on Sunday, Popeyes brought back their Classic and Spicy Chicken Sandwiches that sold out nationwide upon their first release in August.
The chicken sandwich craze has people waiting for hours and going to multiple Popeyes locations, sometimes going home empty-handed.
If you’re going to try this thing, it’s important to mention that the drive-thru line was wrapped around the building when I went to the location at 12401 N. Pennsylvania Ave. around 1 p.m. A friend told me they were out of chicken by 7:15 p.m. on Sunday and a crowd of people could be seen inside and all around the building. Apparently, they had a premade poster in anticipation of their lack of chicken.
Famous rapper Quavo even took to Instagram to tell his followers he had established a chicken sandwich secondary market, reselling the popular item out of his trunk.
“I heard y’all boys was looking for them, they sold out everywhere,” Quavo said. “I got them thangs[sic] going for $1,000 a chicken.”
CBS News anchor Gayle King took to social media to tell followers her thoughts on the restaurant’s Classic Chicken Sandwich.
“Let me tell you something, this really lives up to the hype,” King said. “It’s really good. Popeyes, bravo.”
King initially had some difficulty tracking down the viral chicken sandwich though, taking to Twitter to voice her disappointment.
“Whomp Whomp …. we also called FIFTEEN locations how do you run out of that sandwich on SUNDAY???!!!! May need therapy to recover,” King said.
Due to the viral frenzy, a chicken war has erupted between the Lord’s anointed chicken at Chick-fil-A and Cajun fast food grandma’s chicken at Popeyes.
After the release of Popeyes sandwich, Chick-fil-A’s Twitter made a tweet telling followers, “Don’t forget who has the ORIGINAL chicken sandwich!”
Popeyes responded in a tweet asking, “Y’all good?”
Could Popeyes have usurped Chick-fil-A for the top spot of the chicken sandwich hierarchy?
The Classic Chicken Sandwich from Popeyes costs $3.99. It is dressed similar to a Chick-fil-A sandwich, with only mayonnaise and pickles.
From the first bite, it’s easy to see why this thing has blown up.
The breading on the sandwich is flaky. I mean, the crispy level is off the charts, especially around the edges. Cajun grandma clearly has no regard for her grandchild’s cholesterol level.
The second thing that stood out about this sandwich is the excessive amount of mayonnaise. This was easily remedied by wiping off the underside of the bun on the wrapper, but they seriously need to calm down on the liberal application of the mayo.
The meat of the chicken was juicy and tender. There was no rubber consistency that one might find in chicken sandwiches at other fast food joints.
It’s also worth noting how thick the chicken is. There is some substance to this thing. It actually measures out to 1 3/4 inches tall.
The bun had a nice sweetness to it without being over the top. More importantly, though, it wasn’t stale.
It took three or four bites before noticing any pickles. This sandwich could benefit from one more pickle on it. The tartness provides a nice balance that was absent from my initial bite.
Eating this sandwich begs the question, why was it gone for so long if people liked it so much?
Felipe Athayde, president of Popeyes for the Americas, attributes the shortage to the fact that the chicken war was unforeseen.
“Everyone wanted to try the sandwich and wanted to express their opinion. That’s why it went viral and everyone got excited about our chicken sandwich,” Athayde said. “For many years, our guests have asked us at Popeyes for a chicken sandwich, and we took the challenge.”
According to Athayde, the item was supposed to be a permanent addition to the menu.
“Now we are ready to make a comeback,” Athayde said.
One thing I can’t do is compare Popeyes’ Classic Chicken Sandwich to Chick-fil-A’s Chicken Sandwich because I am allergic to peanuts (Chick-fil-A fries their chicken in peanut oil) and as much as I enjoy writing food reviews, I’m not willing to die for this. If you were reading this to get my side-by-side assessment of the two, I apologize for my misfortune.
What I can do is assure you that this sandwich deserves the positive buzz it’s receiving. This thing simply slaps. The Classic Chicken Sandwich from Popeyes gets an 8/10, would consume again.