Here at the NJL, we talk about A LOT of ish ranging anywhere from the importance of HBO’s, “Insecure”, to the current landscape of millennial dating to trying to figure out why the Nintendo Switch even exists. We’re a spirited bunch, so you can imagine that we have spirited debates. One topic that we constantly love to go back to is how we feel about food. We respect the culinary arts to the highest degree and constantly share anything we’ve discovered. For whatever reason, Cherry finds ridiculously delicious sounding Oreos that NO ONE else can find. I’m still looking for the double chocolate Unicorn Oreos, myself.
One thing that’s hotly debated amongst the NJL and our readers/listeners is who sells the best fried chicken in chain franchises. Today, I’m going to tell you EXACTLY who it is.
Now, I’m completely aware of the negative stereotype associated with black people and chicken. It’s something that persists despite the fact that every culture likes chicken, too (y’all know damn well we didn’t come up with putting marinara sauce and cheese on fried chicken and throwing it in some noodles). I don’t intend to turn into Rocket Raccoon over the course of this article, but in the event that I do, please focus on the ill-advised-but-hilarious picture of NFL Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice eating Popeyes chicken that was strategically placed above the article as a distraction from stuff I may say.
The criteria for this list is as follows:
Without any further delay, here we go!
5. Church’s- This one is going to be brief. Church’s is pretty good, but the origin of their chicken is questionable. How is a wing as big as a breast, fella? Their tenders are on point and the sauces are also good. Their sides are really where they cash in. They have fries, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, fried okra, and some more stuff I’m not going to discuss here because I’m getting in the realm that Jerry Rice currently resides in. Besides the fact that they serve what appears to be ill-gotten chicken, Church’s is this low on the list because of the ridiculous wait times. They’re the reverse of Chick-Fil-A while somehow finding a way to be behind Popeye’s in this category. They don’t run out of chicken, but you’re still confused as to how big the chicken was in the first place. I think they serve pterodactyl.
4. Popeyes- I have a love/hate relationship when it comes to Popeyes. I love the taste, crispiness, and juiciness of their chicken. You can’t beat a perfectly fried and seasoned breast from there. The fries and red beans & rice are legendary. For the longest time their version of “strawberry (RED) drank” put all other fountain drinks in existence to shame. Their sauces aren’t that remarkable, but that Cajun Sparkle seasoning is the one gift from above that Chick-Fil-A couldn’t get. Seriously, that s*** changes how the chicken tastes completely. The problems I have with Popeye’s is that they will make you late returning from your lunch break and/or will run out of chicken on yo hungry ass. Also, some times their people flat out won’t (not to be confused with “can’t”) follow your directions. They’ll give you the opposite of what you want in a heartbeat and then take forever to give you what you asked for. Now let’s take a second to talk about Jerry Rice.
I know this breaks the critique I set forth at the beginning of this, but they lost a ton of points for even asking Jerry to do that. Man, he has a hat on with cups for sauces. Anatomically that makes no sense. Why the hell would I reach UP to DIP something, fam? That lady on the commercial is already highly questionable, but they made sure to confirmed our feelings about her are justified by getting Jerry to do that commercial. A disposable shirt that allows you to wipe the wing sauce off of your hands and makes it so that you won’t mess up your real shirt? And on top of that you have the AUDACITY to question the Black Lives Matter movement? AND COLIN KAEPERNICK?
Is this your GOAT?!
3. Zaxby’s- For a long time Zaxby’s was my #1 in the Trinity of Chicken. When cooked to perfection their chicken is certified deliciousness. The reason why they’re in the 3-spot is a combination of their customer service and them not always seasoning their fries correctly. I know this is petty, but there’s a huge difference when they do right by your food, dawg. A reason why it’s still this high is because Zaxby’s has the greatest combo meal of all time: Wings and Things. Don’t fight me on this. What’s crazier is you can have your tenders dipped in any of the various (and superb) wing sauces. I just woke somebody up with that. Their cookies are nothing to poo-poo at, neither, and their side items are up there with what Chick-Fil-A offers in terms of variety. If only they were more consistent…
2. Chick-Fil-A- Y’all can’t know how close the Church of Chicken was to being at the top of this list. The chicken is good, the sauces are on point (the Polynesian sauce in particular is bussin’), and the lemonade is magical. Due to their signature item (the Chicken Sandwich) being pretty hit-or-miss, I can’t give them the top spot. However, every side item they serve is good. If we were factoring in the desserts, Chick-Fil-A would’ve won in dominating fashion. The sweet treats would be deemed sinful if the company wasn’t so holy. God had to have cut a deal to allow this food to be this good in exchange for it being closed on Sunday’s. The customer service is superior, and every company that deals directly with customers should follow their model. With that being said, here’s my personal story about the goodness that is Saint Chick and what they’ve done for me:
So boom, I went to Chick-Fil-A to get some food one night. I was hungry like a mug and that line looked impossibly long yet implausibly steady. I already had it my mind what I was getting: A four-count chicken strip meal with a large waffle fry and large lemonade. It was a Thursday and I believe the LeBron-led Miami Heat were playing someone, so I wanted to make sure I got home to watch “King James” possibly fail. After what seemed like 2 seconds, I found myself at the window handing my debit card that had only enough for this meal to the God-fearing Christian working the register. She handed my card back, but something was missing. Could it be that my card declined and I would be simultaneously leaving empty handed and shaming my family in public? As she came back to the window I was overcome with fear. She then told me that they made a mistake and dropped my chicken strips and they were going to make me some fresh strips. She apologized several times before telling me to pull down to a pole that was ahead. I quickly checked around to make sure I hadn’t accidentally pulled up at a Burger King. About 5 minutes later, a young man came out with my food. What happened next was magical. This man gave me a large vanilla milkshake, four Polynesian sauces, the strips I ordered, 4 additional strips, and a velvet covered Bible.
That story alone should’ve given Chick-Fil-A the #1 spot, but it’s just unfair.
1. Raising Cane’s- I KNOW this one won’t be met with grand approval, especially when it comes to the variety of their menu, but Raising Cane’s has THE best fast food chicken out there. When Cane’s is fresh (which it almost always is) it’s absolute MONEY!!! They also have a great staff that appears to really like coming up with catch phrases that precede them taking your order. The lemonade hits, the fries are perfectly crunchy, and that damn toast came from the Gods of Texas. Their signature Cane’s Sauce is zesty goodness that perfectly complements the chicken fingers. The only drawback they have, really, is the variety. (Now I’m slightly hungry)
Don’t debate me! THIS IS LAW!!! Keep it locked here for more entries of NJL Eats as well as other black geek think pieces and random works of anger.
Also, Chick-Fil-A didn’t give me a velvet Bible, but the rest is true.
Legend has it that J2 once witnessed how much wood a woodchuck could chuck…