NATIONAL NEWS

Fans Choose Sides In The ‘Chicken Sandwich War’ Of Our Time

Aug 23, 2019, 6:38 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:03 pm
J. Reed [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]...
J. Reed [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

NEW YORK (AP) — A nation already polarized finds itself divided once again, but this time politics isn’t at the heart of it: The blame lies squarely on a fried piece of poultry.

People are choosing sides and beefing over chicken, thanks to Popeyes’ release of its crispy chicken sandwich and the social media debate that has followed. With just one addition to a fast-food menu, the hierarchy of chicken sandwiches in America was rattled, and the supremacy of Chick-fil-A and others was threatened.

It’s been a trending topic on social media, fans have weighed in with YouTube commentaries and memes, and some have reported long lines just to get a taste of the new sandwich

“Our grandchildren will ask us where we were when the great Chicken War of 2019 began,” Twitter user @MilesRodrigo1 declared.

While Popeyes has been selling chicken for a long time, the chain was a contender in the bone-in, skin-on, fried-chicken space, not the fried, boneless, skinless cutlet on a bun.

Popeyes announced the new sandwich on Twitter last week with hyperbole that would soon define the social media commotion to come: “Chicken. Brioche. Pickles. New. Sandwich. Popeyes. Nationwide. So. Good. Forgot. How. Speak. In. Complete. Sandwiches. I mean, sentences.”

And from that moment, it was ON. People began ardently advocating for their favorite sandwich, whether it be the new-kid-on-the-block Popeyes one, or the OG Wendy’s or Chick-fil-A versions.

And the social media managers for the companies reveled in the green light to talk smack to each other.

“We Didn’t Invent The Chicken, Just The Chicken Sandwich!” Chick-fil-A bragged on Twitter. “Bun + Chicken + Pickles = all the (heart emoji) for the original.”

To which Wendy’s responded: “Ya’ll out here talking about which of these fools has the second best chicken sandwich.”

Popeye’s quick retort: “Sounds like someone just ate one of our biscuits. Cause ya’ll looking thirsty.” (Which frankly seemed as if they were bragging about dry over-salted biscuits? Wendy’s thought so, too, tweeting, “lol, guess that means the food’s dry as the jokes.”)

As the week wore on, people debated on social media, in chat rooms, in person.

And even though the topic was the chicken, there were political overtones, with some throwing their backing to Popeyes because they disagreed with Chick-fil-A’s opposition to LGBTQ rights and its chief executive’s derogatory comments about same-sex marriage. (Though the chain has insisted that it has “no political or social agenda.”)

Even the weighty New Yorker chimed in: Food writer Helen Rosner called Popeyes’ new edition “simply beautiful” in a commentary titled “The Popeyes Chicken Sandwich is Here To Save America.”

But why has the meager poultry sandwich riveted a nation so? Why do people have such intense feelings about a fried chicken cutlet on a bun?

Nancy Hopkins, former food director of Better Homes & Gardens magazine, and a veteran food editor for over 20 years, has this to say: “America loves anything crunchy, salty, crackly, and good. And Americans love chicken . just about any way.”

“But this sandwich is simple and straight to the point,” she said. “We love fried chicken, but we don’t make it at home and we love it as a splurge. The sandwich seems less guilty. The thought of it fitting nicely on a bun seems better for us. It is just simpler all the way around. Pressure fried chicken, a pickle, and a bun.”

In February Bon Appetit ran a story about why fried chicken sandwiches were so popular, and traced the answer to a creation in the 1960s by Chick-fil-A’s founder, Atlanta restaurateur S. Truett Cathy. In the ensuing years everyone from fast-food chains to renowned chefs started offering their version of the fried-chicken sandwich, with many garnering praise and a devoted following.

In 2011 David Chang opened cult-favorite Fuku in New York, a restaurant centered on the beauty of fried-chicken sandwiches. Shake Shack rolled out their super popular take on the sandwich nationally in summer 2016 to high acclaim.

Popeyes has certainly come out a winner in this latest debate, at least in terms of publicity. Some franchises reported being sold out of the sandwich as ardent fans endured long lines snaking into the street just to get a taste.

Tyler Manchuck of New Canaan, Connecticut, was one of those who tried the sandwich after hearing about the hype. “I figured it would be rude not to go check it out; it’s my obligation as an avid chicken sandwich connoisseur,” he said.

He decided to get the spicy (it also comes in classic). Once he bit into it, he said he “had an almost out of body experience. The new bun, that sauce gives it the edge. In the realm of fast food, Popeyes’ chicken sandwich definitely has the advantage.”

Still, Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s and other restaurants have their devoted fans, and the Great Chicken Debate is far from being settled.

Perhaps that’s fitting in this day and age. As Twitter user @cHolidaydds said: “There’s nothing more American than being divided over something. This week it’s a chicken sandwich.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

In this aerial view, members of law enforcement investigate a tractor trailer on June 27, 2022 in S...
ERIC GAY and ELLIOT SPAGAT, Associated Press

46 dead, 16 hospitalized after trailer of migrants found

Officials said 46 people have been found dead and 16 others were taken to hospitals with heat-related illnesses after a tractor-trailer rig containing suspected migrants was found Monday on a remote back road in southwest San Antonio.
1 day ago
Los Angeles police are asking for the public's assistance in identifying a suspect who is seen on s...
Natasha Chen and Aya Elamroussi, CNN

Police arrest suspect in an unprovoked assault of an Asian man in Los Angeles

Los Angeles police have arrested a suspect in the assault of an Asian man last week, in an attack caught on surveillance video, police said.
1 day ago
Hundreds of protesters marched in Provo for abortion rights....
KEVIN McGILL, AMY FORLITI and GEOFF MULVIHILL Associated Press

Supreme Court’s abortion ruling sets off new court fights

Judges have temporarily blocked abortion bans in Louisiana and Utah, while a federal court in South Carolina said a law sharply restricting the procedure would take effect there immediately.
1 day ago
FILE: Rudy Giuliani (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)...
KAREN MATTHEWS Associated Press

Heckler charged with assault after clapping Rudy Giuliani on the back

A heckler who clapped former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the back at a campaign event has been arrested on an assault charge.
1 day ago
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the American Freedom Tour at the Austin Convention...
ERIC TUCKER Associated Press

Lawyer who advised Trump says federal agents seized phone

A lawyer who aided former President Donald Trump’s efforts in the 2020 election says that federal agents have seized his cell phone.
1 day ago
Jennifer Crumbley and her husband James Crumbley, parents of the alleged teen Oxford High School sh...
COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press

School shooting suspect may testify at parents’ trial

Lawyers representing the parents of a Michigan teenager charged in a shooting at Oxford High School that left four of his fellow students dead say they plan to call him to testify at the couple’s trial.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Fans Choose Sides In The ‘Chicken Sandwich War’ Of Our Time