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Chick-Fil-A

I found comments on this fast food restaurant added amidst other subjects, so I have chosen to enter a separate one for this comment on the restaurant alone.

Due to a promotion for its chicken sandwiches found in a local magazine, I thought it wise to try its chicken sandwiches again after many years of absence.

What impressed me most about the basic grilled chicken sandwich was the quality of the sandwich and the ambience of the restaurant (for a fast food place).
The sandwich consisted of a very large chicken breast slice topped with a thick slice of tomato, pickle slice, and a large piece of a very green-colored lettuce which looked like anything other than iceberg lettuce found at other such restaurants. The roll was not the typical airy kind.

What also impressed me were the various sauces (I still prefer ketchup!! the one sauce accompanied on the tray with the sandwich just doesn't agree with my digestive system, probably due to the vinegar content) available for the sandwich and the ambience of the place - many tables has some sort of a flower centerpiece and the background music was relaxing, of a more adult nature, meant to create a calm atmosphere vs. creating an upbeat high energy place.

The menu features various upscale varieties of chicken sandwiches. I did not have the potato "waffles," but did see a customer with them and they left me longing for Arthur Treacher's "chips," the large steak fries.

Years ago I had the cole slaw at Chick-Fil-A and enjoyed it. This time all I had was the grilled chicken sandwich and it was satisfying for what it was. (My memory of McDonald's grilled chicken sandwich from years ago is that it didn't have the "plain" taste but some peppery flavor to it which wasn't pleasant. Chick-Fil-A's version is more plain, allowing the patron to add their own seasonings.)

I recommend this place (I visited a stand alone restaurant, in the suburbs not a location in a mall which this chain also operates) to anyone who wants a more mature environment to eat their food in peace. (This restaurant had a playground for young children and the area was intelligently sealed off from the restaurant area so as to not have that activity interfere with patrons. eating inside the restaurant).

For a more exotic treatment of a chicken sandwich, I have thought of going to the Mexican-American chain Baja Mexican Grill (I think that is their name), whose ads for their chicken "sandwiches" look interesting and tasty. For the plain thing, CFA will suffice.

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  1. One thing I enjoy about CFA is that, unlike McDonalds, they don't have a problem w/giving you multiple sauce packs.

    And one thing that I hate about CFA is their unsweetened icetea still tastes sweet (at least at the one location that I ordered it at).

    4 Replies
    1. re: viperlush

      This place is just gross. So incredibly bland. Basically, white chicken breast (most flavorless part of a chicken) and the usual tasteless bland breading. The nonexistent lines are telling. As much as it's fans try to create a stir, this is not the next-In-N-Out phenom.

      1. re: david t.

        Chick-fil-a is a regional chain with very strong roots in the Southeastern US, much like In-n-Out has very strong roots in CA. Both were founded in the 1940's (thought CFA didn't adopt their current name until the '60s). Both are well established regional chains, neither is a phenom at this point.

        They are trying to expand to other parts of the US. CFA may not be catching on in your area, but I assure you they are doing quite well in other parts of the country. There are 3 CFAs on campus at the university I work for. The one closest to my office routinely has a line 10-15 deep.

        1. re: david t.

          THe nonexitent line could be a regional deal or possibly a mis managed CFA. I have never been to a CFA without a line. Everyone on in my area is consistantly crowded. I can not say that CFA is a phenom of any sort, but gross would never come to my mind.. You might have had a bad experience.
          What is nice about CFA is I know I am eating a piece of lighly breaded chicken. The other food chains do not give me the same feeling.

          This thread made me go try thier nuggets and sandwich again ( first time in about 5 years) Not my favorite place (wont lie) but taste NOTHING like fast food. Seems to be always fresh and real.( if that makes sense)

          1. re: Augie6

            I think you hit on an important point. CFA breading is really light. This seems to make it crisper than the competition and not nearly as greasy. Compare that with something like KFC's Chicken Wraps where there's almost as much breading as chicken. It's also particularly salty/peppery, and they seem to be trying to drown the greasiness with even more horrible gloppy ranch/spicy sauces. At CFA, you just taste the chicken.

      2. The "mature" environment you compliment is present on a location by location basis. I actually dislike going to any of my local CFA's evenly slightly before the lunch rush because I feel like I've walked into a day care on steroids. The locations with indoor playgrounds are particularly loud and raucous. It seems like all the stay-at-home moms congregate at CFA and tend to let their kids run wild.

        However, I really admire CFA's business practices. Their hiring process is apparently stringent as all their employees are pleasant, well-trained, and appear to be genuinely dedicated to customer service. They really go out of their way to make your life as easy as possible. And although I am not a religious Christian (or any other kind of Christian, for that matter) I truly respect the Truett family's commitment to keeping the stores closed on Sunday.

        Unfortunately - and this is just a matter of personal taste - I really dislike CFA's food. I'm the only one in my family who doesn't like it and I hate when I get dragged there. I can't quite put my finger on what it is that I don't like, but there's nothing on the menu that I like, and I've tried most of the menu. And I love chicken.

        Oh, and they've got the best advertising. I buy their calendars every year, even though I don't use the attached coupons.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rockycat

          I won't buy anything at CFI. I was treated rudely by the "supposed manager" after complaining about the attitude of the person taking my order.

          I sit in the car if my husband goes to buy a 'soft' ice cream, but that has been years go now.

          I mentioned this just the other day to someone who recommended a certain sandwich. But, I'll not be trying it.

        2. Chick-fil-A is one of my favorite fast food restaurants. The quality and consistency is always there and the service is top notch. For breakfast their Chick-n-Minis (their great nuggets in a mini yeast roll with honey butter) are tremendous as are their sausage or chicken breakfast burrito.

          Chick-fil-A is controversial in that offends certain posters on this site for a variety of non-CHOW related reasons. That alone makes me want to spend even more of my fast food dollars there.

          5 Replies
          1. re: CDouglas

            I've found CFA to have a consistently good quality product, but the reason I return is that the staff are prompt, courteous, well trained, with a superior command of the English language, all qualities I have found lacking at many similar chains. Even if I have a craving for those other chains, if there's a CFA nearby, I end up going there instead.

              1. re: Naco

                Here's my usual drive thru conversation at a non-CFA fastfood window:

                Speaker: [unintelligible buzz]

                Me: I'd like a burger, small fries, and a medium coke.

                Speaker: May I take your order?

                Me: Yes, I'd like a burger, small fries, and a medium coke.

                Speaker: Do you want fries with that?

                Me: Yes. Small fries.

                Speaker: What size?

                Me: Small.

                Speaker: [unintelligible buzz]

                Me: And a coke.

                Speaker: Would you like something to drink?

                Me: Yes. A medium coke.

                Speaker: What size?

                Me: Medium.

                Speaker: [unintelligible buzz]

                I willingly pay a premium not to have this conversation.

                1. re: monkeyrotica

                  Aaaand yet another reason to avoid drive-throughs.

                  1. re: linguafood

                    I've had that same conversation at the walk up counter. They're totally wrapped up in the script routine of what to ask the customer that they aren't even listening to what you just said. At CFA, I say what I want, they punch it in, get the food, and hand it over with a smile. Either they care about what they're doing or they're good at creating the illusion that they care. Either way, that's good training.

          2. CFA's Spicy chicken sammy...delicous!

            1 Reply
            1. re: joonjoon

              What's weird is that the breading has a completely different texture and is drier than the original. At least the 2 or 3 times I've had it. I wish they just added more heat to the original sandwich.

            2. It's the best fast food chicken sandwich.

              1. Well, as someone who partook in their free chicken sandwich give-away on the occasion of their opening a branch here (right across fom KFC, btw), I can say I won't be having that again.

                If this is the best fast food chicken sandwich, I don't think I want to try any other ff chicken sandwiches. Bland, dry, boring, tasteless... lame. Might as well eat dust on a roll.

                5 Replies
                1. re: linguafood

                  Sorry to hear of your disappointment, maybe the samples were lying around too long.
                  Eaten a lot of fast food chicken sandwiches and I think CFA is the best.
                  If you know of better, I'm open for a suggestion.

                  1. re: monku

                    Well, I don't. I don't tend to frequent chains, so I won't be any help here, sorry. I like my chicken unadorned by sandwiches '-)

                    1. re: linguafood

                      So, you're saying that for a free sandwich, you got no value at all, not even low calorie protein?

                      No value at all for zero money?

                      I wonder what free food you might recommend.

                      1. re: shallots

                        It sucked. And I'd only recommend free food that I think is good. Thankfully, I am lucky enough to have the luxury to turn down free food if I don't like it.

                  2. re: linguafood

                    I feel like EVERY fast food restaurant has 1 or 2 dishes that stand above everything else they serve. My 2 favorite things at CFA are the Spicy chicken sandwich with mayo lettuce tomato, and their chicken nuggets. Both are pretty tasty! Everything else...meh.

                  3. Before the era of the standalone CFA when they were mostly in mall foodcourts, my husband's favorite one-liner was, "It's the best chicken and pickle sandwich at the mall!"

                    1. My friend and I went to a stand alone CFA for lunch the other day and managed to arrive when they were quite busy. We split a chik fil a fried chicken sandwich, a fruit cup, a side salad, a lemonade and some hot soup. Our order was up so fast my friend's head was spinning. Everything was hot and fresh and real good. When we were done I grabbed up a bunch of napkins and other trash and then turned around with a confused look on my face. The manager reached for my trash and politely offered to throw it out for me. I didn't let him, since I figured why should he get his hands dirty, and he backed off nicely.
                      I was facing a very difficult afternoon and I don't know what more they could have done to make my coming ordeal a bit easier to bear. I'm considering writing them a thank you note since I don't get down that way very much. In case I don't get around to it I'll say it here. Thank you chik fil a for being exactly what I needed, you were golden.

                      1. the standalone chick fil-a where i've been (cape coral, florida) had a very clean environment with nice decorating touches, like fresh flowers. the service was outstanding, and they even came over to ask if we wanted refills -- then brought them to our table.

                        i enjoyed their southwest char-grilled chicken salad, but preferred the buttermilk ranch dressing to the spicy one (even though in like spicy typically). there were very fresh chicken slices and vegetables in the salad.

                        their specialty milkshakes are in.cred.ible. but they are calorie-BOMBS. real ice cream used. mmmm. <i wish i had an incredibly fast metabolism. sigh>.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: alkapal

                          I love their shakes. And my mall has a chik fil a. Hard to resist getting a shake every darn time I hit the mall.

                          1. re: givemecarbs

                            remember the fresh peach shakes? .... wow, when i looked up the calories for a large (natch) it was something like 1,400 calories!!! but, boy-o-boy was it good.

                            1. re: alkapal

                              i think those are seasonal.
                              i swear i saw them during the summer here in austin.

                              1. re: dinaofdoom

                                yes, they were definitely a summer "seasonal offering" <"limited time only">-- because those peaches were fresh -- and not those hard versions from the store either, but the "ripe" kind you can usually get from roadside stands.

                        2. Went again this past Saturday for my son's basketball team party. Had the Chargrilled Chicken Club sandwich and the new Banana Pudding milkshake. Both were tremendous. Quality service, a clean environment and consistently great food at great prices. These folks know how to do the fast food thing correctly.

                          I got a chance to chat with many of the other diners who were there. They were a solid group of real Americans who were a pleasure to be around. We will be going back again and again.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: CDouglas

                            oh, now i'm going to have to try the banana pudding milkshake. wow! i'll see how late my local chick-fil-a is open in the mall tonight. ;-)).

                              1. re: Cathy

                                well, i may have to not eat all day to fit the calories, but from my experience, it'll be worth it. the peach one was so real-homemade-ice-cream-creamy, with real FRESH peaches, chunks and all. i was amazed. i'll bet the banana pudding shake has fresh bananas, too!

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  It is made from ice cream, bananas, Nilla wafers and topped with the trademark whipped cream and a cherry.

                                  Trademark smiling, sugar coma nap comes about 30 minutes later.

                                  1. re: CDouglas

                                    Do they actually use real ice cream (as opposed to ice milk) in their milkshakes? The soft-serve cones and cups are not ice cream as they do not have enought milkfat to legally qualify as ice cream. Just curious.

                                    1. re: rockycat

                                      http://www.chick-fil-a.com/Food/Menu-...

                                      I like tasting things first. I like how this milkshake tastes.

                                      1. re: Cathy

                                        to me, the ice cream used in the shake tastes like homemade vanilla ice cream. it has that flavor, viscosity, texture. whether it is technically ice "cream" i don't know.

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          Yes. Especially in the summer, when I try all sorts of iced 'limited time only' goodies and the shakes...

                                          Whatever it is, I do like it.

                          2. I've yet to have a bad experience at CFA. LOVE the chicken minis at breakfast, the number one can't be beat and the party platter of tenders has no equal, price, convenience or quality wise. They even have free tampons and pads in the women's restrooms! Very convenient and a nice touch when traveling.