Located in a buying advanced on South Tunnel Street, Chicken Salad Chick’s signal had me envisioning an ice cream parlor-style case stuffed with rooster salads served by the news.
Is it to-go solely? Did it critically solely serve rooster salad? What about egg salad and tuna salad? What have they got towards different salads? And the gendered “chick” within the identify: Would I be allowed in? It was time for me to seek out solutions, and even when I needed to don a costume to get them, I used to be moving into.
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The restaurant was based in Alabama by a stay-at-home mother. What at first started as a door-to-door enterprise progressed right into a brick-and-mortar operation, since rising to 100 fast-casual shops.
The Asheville retailer’s inside was not that of a typical fast-food house, however as an alternative had crown molding, sturdy tables and cubicles. Partitions stuffed with black-and-white native images lent regional attraction.
You’ll have to wrangle with the corporate emblem: a correctly posed lady, purse on bent arm and flower in hair. This considerably antiquated picture of Southern girls is a gimmick performed all through the shop, with saccharine sayings scattered across the partitions and within the restrooms.
I used to be assured, in accordance with an indication within the males’s room, that if I felt bizarre ordering the “Fancy Nancy” I might simply ask for the one with fruits and nuts.
The ladies’s room went on to induce, in accordance with my spouse, “Shooga, wouldn’t you feel betta with a little lipstick on?” Whereas her mom, raised within the South, didn’t fall sufferer to many Southern stereotypes, this was really one she would inform her daughters, sans the “shooga.”
In different phrases, the decor pointed to a Southern period not so lengthy gone. It could both repel or endear you. Personally, I can ignore it and all of the flowers painted on the wall on the counter, so long as the rooster is tasty.
Order by the news
It’s true you can simply order the stuff by the news. No, there isn’t a show case, however you possibly can ask for samples. And, there are different salads: egg salad, pimento cheese (I suppose a sort of cheese salad) and rooster salad on a inexperienced salad.
However principally it’s all about rooster. You’ll have to decide from selections equivalent to Fancy Nancy, Barbie-Q, Dixie Chick and the like.
My spouse caught with the Traditional Carol, whereas I selected the Jalapeno Holly.
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Primarily based on on-line feedback, there are robust lovers of the feel of the rooster salad, which could be very finely shredded or processed. Others are offended and might solely tolerate a chunkier model.
I perceive wanting a variance of texture in one thing as smooth on the palate as rooster salad. However, prepping a finer shred in a fast-casual setting means much less likelihood of discovering a big piece of gristle.
Texture apart, the Traditional Carol was as promised: a strong, easy basic, with diced celery, fundamental seasoning and never an excessive amount of mayo.
You get a facet with every scoop, and we ordered the tomato bisque. Whereas I’m not suggesting that is going to earn any Michelin stars, its notes of basil and chunks of tomato introduced it a step above fundamental.
Not joyful to only eat my scoop with a fork or spoon it onto a pack of Wheat Twins crackers, I had the Jalapeno Holly made right into a sandwich, selecting a croissant over the white and wheat choices.
It was basically the identical because the Traditional Carol, however with a beneficiant addition of diced jalapeno. Plenty of the seeds didn’t make it to the combo, so the salad is barely a medium warmth stage, however relatively added a lot wanted taste to the salad.
Apart from a really poor specimen of a tomato slice and a leaf of inexperienced lettuce, the croissant was the suitable automobile for the rooster salad. In the event you do end up wanting one thing to tone down the warmth, it serves a twin objective.
Extra salads embrace broccoli salad, fruit salad, pasta salad or grape salad. Insurgent that I’m, I opted for the mac n’cheese, the one nonsalad choice, except you rely the soup. The macaroni is fairly fundamental, however the yellow tinged three-cheese sauce provides up a touch of paprika, and was not the overcooked Kraft macaroni mush-fest you discover at most fast-casual operations.
Look, you clearly higher like rooster salad to return right here and, nevertheless you stand on the Southern belle spiel, you’re now ready. However there’s additionally one thing to be mentioned for the flexibility to churn out over 100 shops primarily based on rooster salad. And, for meals in a flash, it’s not a horrible choice in case you’re ever held captive on Tunnel Street at lunch time.
Matthew DeRobertis is a chef, author and father to a child who loves meals greater than her canine. Contact him at email@example.com.
IF YOU GO
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The restaurant: Chicken Salad Chick, 828-970-1694, chickensaladchick.com, 4 S. Tunnel Street.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:30 p.m.-7 p.m.
What to attempt: Although you may not really feel comfy with the identify, the Jalapeno Holly rooster salad provides a little bit warmth and taste that makes the salad extra fulfilling than the basic.
Beverage notes: Tea, soda.
The underside line: Chicken Salad Chick assumes you like the stuff a lot you would possibly simply eat it by the news, or at the least hat you wish to commerce your carbs for mayo. There are a number of varieties to select from and, if you’re only a insurgent with no trigger, additionally they make a turkey sandwich.
The Tunnel Street locale does supply some incentive for these in search of a non-fast meals fast lunch. The southern belle theme will both repel you or fire up sentimentality.
Both manner it’s their model and so they’re sticking to it, so take your rooster salad and eat it within the automotive or settle in and make notice of the varied sayings framed across the retailer.