This week, I reached out for a Southern Chicken Sandwich at the fast-charging sports bar and grill chain, Buffalo Wild Wings, with 1,238 restaurants coast to coast and growing, but more important, 17 in the Houston area. My BW3 is next door to Costco on Richmond and Weslayan. Talk about your two-stop shopping on a Saturday afternoon.
While Chick-fil-A, Popeyes, and Wendy’s are battling for chicken sandwich supremacy and throwing spitballs on Twitter, here comes Buffalo Wild Wings quietly unleashing a chicken sandwich that may be the best of all.
Here’s the Southern Chicken Sandwich blueprint: a beer-battered and deep-fried chicken breast topped with Swiss cheese, bacon aioli, Napa slaw, and pickles on a challah bun. Stop me when I mention anything that doesn’t sound absolutely amazing.
Total calories: 870. Fat grams: 54. Sodium: 1,910 mg. Carbs: 58 g. Dietary fiber: 4 g. Protein: 38 g. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: $10.99, including fries. They also have a Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich with the breast dunked in Nashville Hot Sauce, Napa slaw, Fresno chili peppers, pickles, and ranch dressing on a challah bun. Nashville Hot has 810 calories and 48 fat grams.
First, let’s get the name right. Officially, it’s Buffalo Wild Wings. For short, BW3. But around here, it’s “let’s go eat and watch the game at B-Dubs.”
Sure, Chick-fil-A, Popeyes, and Wendy’s are grabbing the headlines, especially with Popeyes new chicken sandwich such a sensation that they’ve run out weeks before the promotion was supposed to end. Since Popeyes test-marketed this sandwich in Houston, it’s not big whoop here. And Chick-fil-A sort of owns the town. Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich is a Hall of Famer.
While Popeyes is either scrambling for more product, or gloating over this publicity stunt, this may be the time to drop by B-Dubs and try their new chicken sandwiches. B-Dubs has a few things going for it that the others don’t.
The biggest edge may be, B-Dubs plunks its chicken breast in beer batter before frying. And not just any beer. This batter is spiked with Lagunitas IPA, which has a slightly higher alcohol content than most beers. That allows the batter to puff up extra crunchy in the fryer, while the chicken stays moist and tender. With the Swiss, slaw, and bacon aioli, no doubt B-Dubs’ Southern Chicken Sandwich is prettier and fancier than the competition.
Beer batter makes it better. If you get to England and try their fish ‘n’ chips and wonder, “What’s the deal, this tastes incredible!” — part of the reason is, they use a batter that’s boozy with beer.
While B-Dubs chicken sandwiches pile on the toppings, the price is a little (lot) higher than Chick-fil-A and company. For $10.99 you get the sandwich and fries, that’s all. This is no No. 2 meal deal off a value menu.
Your drink, soft or foamy, is extra. And don’t forget to tip the waitstaff.
Ken Hoffman reviews a new fast food restaurant item every Wednesday. Have a suggestion or a drive-thru favorite? Let Ken know on Twitter.