It's time to settle the debate once and for all. 🐔
This Review article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
Chick-fil-A and Popeyes are two of America's most popular chicken restaurant chains, but which one of them is the true king of the fast food game is cause for much debate.
Chick-fil-A started in Georgia and has since expanded to become an International favorite, while Popeyes calls Louisiana home, and prides itself in serving down-home Southern chicken in sides at lightning speed.
While both can be the perfect afternoon fix, there can only be one winner.
I tried the chain's most popular menu items back-to-back to settle the debate once and for all, and crown one winner as the best in the game.
Classic nuggets from Popeyes Right: Classic nuggets from Chick-fil-A
Popeyes: Let's get one thing straight,Popeyes chicken has amazing breading. It retains its crispy texture even after the pilgrimage home from the drive-thru, and the savory, salty flavor is enough to cause your mouth to water. At first bite, their nuggets were incredible, but after a few, they became too much.
The ratio of breading to meat is about equal and while the grease makes your brain tingle, it becomes overkill.
Chick-fil-A: Chick-fil-A has mastered the art of the chicken nugget. Each piece is perfectly bite-sized, deliciously breaded, and savory. They're fried in the perfect amount of grease, where they still feel indulgent without coating your entire mouth in fat.
They also have stood the test of time compared to Popeyes' newer venture into the world of nuggets. As someone born and raised in Georgia, Chick-fil-A's home state, they hold a tremendous amount of nostalgia. They win this round.
Cajun fries from Popeyes Right: Waffle fries from Chick-fil-A.
Popeyes: The Cajun spice is the real star of the show here. While the texture isn't my absolute favorite, the flavor makes up for it. It's peppery, savory, and overall delicious. They don't hold their crispiness as well as Popeyes breaded chicken items, however, even when they've gone cold, they're still good.
Chick-fil-A: Chick-fil-A's waffle fries are maybe some of the least greasy fries in America's fast food realm. They're seasoned with only sea salt which is simple, but it works. These fries definitely feel more potato-y than Popeyes' cajun fries, but they're lacking in the "wow factor" department. Popeyes wins.
Spicy Chicken Sandwich
Spicy chicken sandwich from Popeyes Right: Spicy deluxe chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A
Popeyes: This is my favorite thing on Popeyes' entire menu. After one bite, it's not difficult to see why these sandwiches caused such a frenzy and sold out in stores across the country when they were first released in August 2019.
The heat level is perfect, and the soft, buttery bun evens out the kick. The generous smear of spicy sauce is icing on the cake. It's savory, it's warming, and it's borderline addictive.
Chick-fil-A: Chick-fil-A's spicy deluxe chicken sandwich is also really, really good. The melty pepper jack cheese plays well with the juicy chicken. It's a tad spicier than Popeyes, but the freshness and texture from the lettuce and tomato really rounds out the experience.
Overall, I prefer Popeyes to Chick-fil-A because the crunch of the breaded chicken, and the soft, lightly sweet bread is a textural experience.
Classic Chicken Sandwich
Classic chicken sandwich from Popeyes Right: Classic chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A.
Popeyes: Popeyes' classic chicken sandwich feels like their spicy chicken sandwich's reserved, less hot counterpart. While the textural element is still there, it feels like something is lacking in the flavor department. It is spread with a classic mayo, which is underwhelming.
Their pickles however are more impressive than their competitors. They're thicker cut, and bring a nice briny, acidic element to the sandwich.
Chick-fil-A: Chick-fil-A's sandwich wins here. The savory and juicy chicken does the heavy lifting in the flavor department. While the bun is less buttery than its competitors, the moisture from the filet makes up for it. One thing they could improve on is their pickles which can be spare, and limp, but overall it's a better sandwich experience.
Regular lemonade from Popeyes Right: Frosted lemonade from Chick-fil-A.
Popeyes: Popeyes serves Minute Made lemonade which is classic and refreshing, especially when paired with their spicy menu items. The sweetness and the tartness are perfectly balanced, and it is easy to drink on a hot summer day.
Chick-fil-A: Chick-fil-A serves a frosted lemonade, which is blended with ice cream. While it's decadent, it is a bit too sweet for my taste, and more reminiscent of a creamsicle than of actual lemonade. It could use some more acidity to balance it out. The texture is slightly thinner than a milk shake. For frozen beverages, I prefer a thicker drink to give it more of a desert vibe.
As far as price, both chains hover in the same affordable range. While both restaurants are good at what they do, Popeyes to me is the clear winner. The texture and overall spices used in their entrees steal the show.
Chick-fil-A is definitely less greasy and meatier, but the crisp, peppery nature of Popeyes' menu items gives the chain a leg up on its competitor. Their spicy chicken sandwich may be my favorite fast food item ever created.
It hurts my Georgia heart to admit it, but Louisiana wins this time.
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