HIDDEN GEM: One of the best chicken sandwiches can be found at a new local spot

This Sunday, Nov. 3 marks a sacred food holiday in my world: National Sandwich Day.

Sandwiches are the superheroes of casual dining menus and brown-bag lunches. As long as you have the right ingredients, they can be anything you need them to be. The standard sandwich equation — two pieces of bread cradling any number of precious ingredients you are looking forward to devouring — makes for an infinite number of possibilities when you factor in type of bread, cheeses, proteins, condiments, veggies and other toppings, not to mention cooking methods.

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There are humble sandwiches that rely on simple ingredients and preparations, and then there are hulking, showy sandwiches that want to wow you with a flavor explosion.

Recently I came across a sandwich that I would say deserves celebrating throughout the year, but especially on National Sandwich Day.

My friend Elaine was telling me about a very funny food review one of her friends wrote and posted to her Facebook page.

“In a Relationship,” Oct. 21 at the Chicken Spot.

"If I loved you very very very much and was feeling rich and like I had lots of time and was four times the cook I am, I still would not be able to make a sandwich that deserved to share the name 'chicken sandwich' with this glorious creation. Rather than be gratuitously salt/fat/sweet, it is perfectly cooked extraordinary quality ingredients. Waffle fries also brilliant. Go spend your money on something worth hollering about." 

Now, you may have never marked yourself “In a Relationship” with a chicken sandwich, but you know that if you ever do, things are getting really serious. I decided I had to meet this sandwich and see if we would make a love connection as well.

The Chicken Spot is Chef Anthony Head's new restaurant that opened at the end of July in the Northwest Shopping Plaza at 3261 W. Siebenthaler Ave.

Tucked discretely into a corner with signage that's easy to miss, you really can't call it a restaurant — it's a carry-out spot with six pews that you can sit on while you wait on your order to come up. This is a spot that's easy to miss; we drove around for a few minutes before we found the place. It's worth the effort, and the secret is out as it was a revolving door with people coming and going, including a Door Dash delivery while we waited.

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The menu is limited to a selection of four chicken sandwiches ranging in price from $8-11 and a vegan, plant-based chicken-sandwich alternative for $8. I like a restaurant that knows what it does well, and The Chicken Spot does, and it executes accordingly. Its list of sandwiches is simple and straightforward:

• The ChickenHead: 6-ounce boneless chicken breast with pickled onions, served on a buttered, toasted bun ($8)

• The ChickenHead Deluxe: Everything that’s on the ChickenHead plus bacon, lettuce and tomato and a dollop of ranch dressing ($11)

• The Medusa: 6-ounce boneless chicken breast topped with rich cavatappi-noodle macaroni and cheese;  bitter, kicky collard greens; and tart pickled onions, served on a buttered, toasted bun ($11)

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

• FireHead: 6-ounce boneless chicken breast sandwich dipped in a Buffalo-style sauce dubbed “Gem City Sauce,” then topped with a dollop of blue-cheese dressing ($11)

• The VeganHead: Plant-based chicken alternative topped with pickled onions and served on a toasted bun ($8).

Any sandwich can be ordered "WetWet,’" dipped in a sauce of your choosing: lemon-pepper glaze, Cdubb Gold, Gem City Sauce, Thai Garlic Chili Sauce or Mac N Cheese Sauce.

Sides include those delicious waffle fries, sweet potato fries (which were soggy), desserts and non-alcoholic beverages.

The ChickenHead Deluxe and Medusa are southern sandwich stand-out superstars. They were fantastic —the kind of sandwiches that should be the centerpiece of any National Sandwich Day celebration.

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The large pieces of fried chicken in both sandwich masterpieces were flavorful, seasoned and crisp. It's the kind of chicken-sandwich experience that you share with friends after the fact so that they too can delight in the perfection. It's the kind of sandwich you revisit in your mind while you daydream with a smile and, for some, it's the kind of sandwich that you find yourself in a relationship with. The collard greens and pickled onions were tremendous flavor additions.

In a previous interview with this news outlet prior to the opening of his restaurant, Chef Head said, “I want to create a crave-able sandwich."

I would say he's accomplished that and more.

That chain chicken-sandwich war that's been going on? The Chicken Spot wins hands down.

I don't know about Elaine, but I too am in a relationship ... now if they could just add some tables and chairs ... .

Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share info about your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of exciting outdoor spaces, new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

 How to go 

What: The Chicken Spot

Where: 3261 W. Siebenthaler Ave. in the Northwest Shopping Plaza

Hours: 11-7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays

More information: 937-813-1618 or www.facebook.com/chickenspotdayton

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