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My love affair with Chacacero is over

Everytime I need to head to Downtown Crossing, I look forward to a special lunch here. It's always the same, an original chicken sandwich, with everything. I take that first bite and settle into pure bliss; the combination of flavors is amazing and it's always worth the trip.

Except yesterday. And, as I recall, the time before, a few months ago. After thinking about it a bit, I'm remembering my last meal here was disappointing, but I may have blocked it out --allowing all the other great chicken sandwiches that came before it to overshadow that one. But after yesterday's dismal showing, I'm starting to think Chacacero has jumped the shark. The bread tasted somewhat flavorless and dare I say it --stale. Not the soft puffy freshness I'm used to. The chicken was tough and overcooked. And a large with a soda was close to $10.00. Definitely a few dollars more than it should be...and I've always been glad to pay it ---but not so much, now.

I hate to say it, but I think that was my last trip for the foreseeable future. Bummer. Not interested in necessarily starting a debate on the virtues or vices of this place, but has anyone else noticed this downhill slide? I feel like they just haven't been the same since they moved from the side of Filene's. Makes me sad, it was definitely one of my favorite places for a lunchtime break.

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  1. I came to this party late (only visited Filene's window once and kind of liked the separate pay and pick up line system) and wish I liked it better since it's so close to my work for lunch, but I have never really enjoyed a chicken sandwich from there - regular or BBQ, with any of the hot sauces, with everything, etc. - just don't get the love for it - Viga's knockoff is as good or better in my opinion - I prefer their soft, freshly-baked whole wheat foccacia bread as well - and it's $6.

    1. I haven't been in a while, but when I was a regular at the original Chac. I did notice some inconsistency. Maybe one out of every 3-4 visits the chicken would seem dry and overcooked, but they always bounced back to the normal goodness. Eventually I started to order the BBQ chicken, which I found more reliably good. Which location are you reporting on? Maybe try the other one and give them a chance to reclaim the mojo.

      1. One key to Chacarero is getting your sandwich in the middle of the rush. If there's no line, it will not be good, based on the hundreds that I've had. That's because the precooked chicken just sits there during off times, and they inexplicably throw the bread on the grill, which dries it out. Hopefully that's the explanation for your bad experience, I've been avoiding chicken for the last couple of weeks - and thus, Chacarero - due to a stupid article someone sent me.

        3 Replies
        1. re: nsenada

          Hmm. Interesting theory, and one that might hold true, given the time I was there....1ish on NY Eve day and the place was dead. It was the location next to Sam LaGrassa (Province Street i think?)
          I'm not sure I'll be rushing back anytime soon though....it's not cheap, and after 2 lackluster sandwiches I'm not all that keen to repeat the experience. I haven't given up altogether, just taking a little break.

          1. re: twentyoystahs

            I have never been to Province Street location - my disappointment is based on Arch St experiences during peak lunch hours (noon-1pm)...

            1. re: rlh

              Interesting - I only frequent the Province street one. With the Chacarero price approaching La Grassa now, I do tilt towards a cuban sandwich these days.

        2. 100% concur with everything you said. When I am in the area now I opt for LaGrassa's every time.

          1. I've been 3 times and everytime I want to love it but have had the same experience as the o.p. Dry meat and even drier bread. It has been slow on the ocassions that I've been so I guess I'll have to try it again sometime at the rush.

            1. when they were just a street vendor i must have gone 30 times. when they moved to the window i probably went 20 times (long lines). over the last year - i've gone twice.

              1. I'll have to jump on the bandwagon, too. I was a huge fan when we had to brave the elements and the crew behind the counter was really hustling to feed the shivering masses. Since they've moved the operation indoors, the sandwiches are no longer piping hot and delicious (even when I eat them there.) Even at 12:30, during a huge rush, they seem to be using precooked chicken (or something.) The price keeps going up and the love is gone--I still LIKE it, but that's all. I'll have to check out the Viga knock off.