Passions have run rather high lately in the Great Eternal Debate: Who makes the best fried-chicken sandwich?
Last weekend’s re-introduction of the Popeyes Classic Chicken Sandwich re-ignited the debate that started earlier this summer. Popeyes initially debuted its chicken sandwich on Aug. 12. The launch sparked a viral Twitter feud between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A over which chain’s chicken sandwich was superior. In just two weeks, the Popeyes menu item sold out completely and was pulled off the chain’s menu.
Supplies were replenished. Additional staff members were hired and trained.
But when we wrote a couple of weeks ago about the re-introduction of the Popeyes sandwich, many Dayton-area chicken-sandwich lovers were quick to spread their love of a new local chicken-sandwich shop, The Chicken Spot . These readers took to Facebook to swear allegiance to the relatively new and locally owned Chicken Spot restaurant’s sandwiches as THE best, without question.
We decided to find out for ourselves.
We set up a blind tasting that was conducted by Dayton.com staffers Amelia Robinson and Lisa Powell, utilizing (and sometimes abusing, as you’ll see in the attached video) their colleagues Michelle Fong, Allegra Czerwinski and Mark Fisher, who served as judges.
In addition to Popeyes, Chick-fil-A and The Chicken Spot, we followed the recommendations of some of our Facebook fans and added fried-chicken sandwiches from two Oregon District establishments known for their fine sandwich offerings, Lucky’s and Blind Bob’s, and from another chicken-sandwich specialist, Mike’s Nashville Hot at Austin Landing, into the tasting lineup.
We picked up basic chicken sandwiches, plain or with just the barest of sauces that came on the basic sandwich, from all six restaurants to set up our blind taste test. (We ordered additional sandwiches with “the works” because we were hungry and we wanted to try their signature sandwiches, too, plus they were more photogenic, and we wanted some pretty pictures.)
There was nothing scientific about our taste test, but the judging panel did indeed taste them “blind,” both figuratively — we did not know which sandwiches or in what order we were tasting them — and (almost) literally, since the judges were blindfolded while sampling.
The results surprised us.
Two of the three judges (Michelle and Allegra) chose what turned out to be the Popeyes chicken sandwich as their favorite of the six, while the third judge, Mark Fisher, chose The Chicken Spot’s offering as his favorite.
Truth be told, all six sandwiches were delicious.
What’s the takeaway? Well, sometimes — not all the time, but sometimes — the hype is real.
And so were the Facebook followers who swore The Chicken Spot hits the sweet spot.
You can watch our full taste test on the Dayton.com Facebook page.