When done well, the fried chicken sandwich is a thing of beauty. And its popularity in recent years has skyrocketed, with nearly every fast food chain giving it a go (we’d be lying if we said we didn’t wait in a long Popeyes line at one point). Fortunately, Boston is also home to a wide range of styles and takes on the fried chicken sandwich. Here are seven of our favorites that you can get right now.
The Spring Street Chicken Sandwich at Neighborhood Kitchen is topped with a substance known as bacon jam - what else do you need to know? Well, there’s also a nicely-fried, spicy chicken breast and some chipotle mayo on this sandwich. But the bacon jam that’s subtly tucked in the bottom layer has the perfect balance of crunch, saltiness, and sweetness, and is probably the best condiment we’ve had this year. Not that we’re out buying random condiments to try at the grocery store or anything. No, not us, never.
Chicken katsudon is already pretty great on it’s own, and we’re not convinced it needed to be revamped as a fried chicken sandwich. At least State Park pays appropriate homage to the original, with a crispy panko cutlet, soy-barbecue mushrooms, and shredded cabbage. There’s a lot of flavor packed in here, and we haven’t come across anything else quite like it.
Coleslaw is already divisive enough on its own, and since Soleil puts the stuff on their fried chicken sandwich, we can only imagine what conversations they have over the Thanksgiving table. But we’re encouraging even the coleslaw averse to give this one a chance - it balances out the sandwich really well, providing a refreshing counter to the chipotle mayo (and extra hot sauce that we added). The holidays are probably going to look different this year, so make room for the cabbage.
Quotation marks are apparently pretty powerful literary devices since they can trick the general public into thinking that jackfruit is actually “chicken.” But aside from the fact that the texture of the fried jackfruit is softer (think fried cod), we’re not sure Rhythm ’n Wraps needs to employ any punctuation trickery. The soft brioche bun complements the crispy fry and cilantro aioli well, so this isn’t a “good vegan sandwich” - it’s just a good sandwich. There’s also both a buffalo and teriyaki version if you don’t particularly like cilantro.
Between the egg and hot honey, you’re essentially having a glorified breakfast sandwich at Shy Bird. Heck, it’s even served on a doughy vehicle that looks like an English muffin (though thankfully it isn’t one - the bread is more like an unsweetened Portuguese bolo). The chicken here has an enjoyable crunch, and halfway through your sandwich when you’re licking liquid bee gold off your fingers, you’ll wonder why you’ve skipped breakfast all these years.
Bisq is already known for their spectacular fried chicken dinners, but that does not a good fried chicken sandwich make (we’re ready for season two of The Mandalorian). Well, we’re happy to report that Bisq also has a spectacular sandwich iteration, complete with honey mustard on a potato bun. It’s really hard to overstate just how well the chicken is cooked here, providing an unbelievably crispy-but-juicy eating experience. The experience lasts a while too, given how large the piece of chicken is.
The sandwich at Little Donkey takes clear cues from som tam for both the batter and papaya slaw topping. It’s also surprisingly spicy, the kind of heat that builds with each bite - which is why the avocado ranch is critical (that to-go frosé can also help). If you’re craving a fried chicken sandwich, but don’t want to be an unproductive pile of gluten after the meal, then this is the answer.