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Larry Legend Tries the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich

Chicago’s resident fried chicken aficionado weighs in on the most pressing debate of our time.

Legend, pictured, would like to sample it again — if he can just get his hands on one. Photo: Courtesy of Larry Legend

I’m not big on fast-food chains, but I had to see what the hype on Popeyes chicken sandwich was all about. I’ve had my share of chicken sandwiches at various restaurants. I’ve been a fan of the Wendy’s spicy one (add cheese!) for most of my life. It’s never failed me when I’m stuck in some airport or after a late-night Bible study session with a female companion. My only issue with it is the very large flexible green substance that they like to pass off as “lettuce.” That “lettuce” could be used to parachute out of an airplane in case of an emergency.

Most of the debate seems to center on Popeyes vs. Chick-fil-A. Here’s my general thought on Chick-fil-A: I’m skeptical of any place that sells fried chicken and NEVER smells like grease. That’s strike 2 for me. (Strike 1 is their views on people’s lifestyles. Shut up and serve chicken. Nobody asked you all that.) I’ve had the spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A a few times, and I will say that it’s a fresh take: It has lettuce, tomato, and pepper jack cheese. But what it doesn’t have is sauce. It just tastes like the suburbs to me. It tastes like it went to private school. It doesn’t have the most flavor is what I’m saying.

In other words, it’s no match for the one at Popeyes. I was fortunate enough to taste the Popeyes chicken sandwich on two occasions before the hype took the internet by storm and they sold out everywhere. It didn’t disappoint.

First things first: If you do get the chance to try one, grow up and order the spicy version or you’re cheating yourself out of an experience of a lifetime. When I first bit into it, my initial reaction was one of pure joy. My next thought was, “There’s no way I could eat this every day and live to see next summer.”

The simplicity of the sandwich wowed me, because there was so much flavor. I mean it’s literally just a bun, chicken, pickles, and a spicy mayo type sauce. I don’t know what Popeyes is doing to make that sandwich so good. Is it the fancy bun? The extraordinarily large chicken breast? Is it MSG? I have no clue.

I read somewhere that you should try it with the Popeyes Sweet Heat dipping sauce, and that took my sandwich to Zion. Kudos to whatever experimentalist came up with that combination. You deserve your own day.

I can honestly say that the Popeyes chicken sandwich is the best I’ve had from any of the major fast food chains. It’s not “let me act belligerent in the establishment, curse out and fight the staff” good or “let me sing about this sandwich in hopes I can go viral for 3.8 seconds of fame” good. But it’s plenty good, I won’t lie.

That said, I’m not sure I even want Popeyes to bring back its chicken sandwich. Can you imagine a future where every day is Black Friday at Popeyes?

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