- Atlanta Eats Colleen Ann McNally
When you live in a state that boasts inventing the chicken sandwich and menus overwhelming abound with them, it's undeniably a lunch staple. Atlanta eaters often are likely to swap our beloved fried chicken for a lighter option. Next time the craving hits hard, resist the Chick-fil-A drive-thru for one of these five fellow time-honored Atlanta spots. We're talking the Freddy Freeman of chicken sandwiches, sure to hit a home run.
From YEAH! Burger founder and Atlanta dining expert Chef Shaun Doty, this family-friendly contemporary Southern diner and rotisserie is all about the bird. Kick yours up a notch with their blackened chicken burger, topped with lettuce, tomato and Creole mayo on a jalapeno cheddar bun. And because we subscribe to the notion that pimento cheese makes everything better, add some to your sandwich – or other toppings such as avocado, Patak bacon or a fried JB Farm egg. Don't even get us started on their delicious sides, although their focus on regional, free range and pastured chicken steals the show. With four Atlanta locations and a similar burger served at the spin-off concept Chick-a-Biddy, getting your hands on one isn't too far from reach.
At this rate, Crescent Avenue's name should be changed to Chicken Avenue. Steps from Bantam + Biddy's Midtown location, Front Page News' colorful New Orleans-style courtyard has been inviting Atlanta appetites to "laissez le bon temps rouler" with their big menu and strong drinks since before the Olympics came to town. The grilled chicken sandwich here can be ordered in nine different styles, and BBQ lovers shouldn't miss the Big Kahuna or Smoke Stack. Our eyes, however, turn to hearts for their Crescent City Sandwich, complete with tangy honey chipotle glaze, thinly sliced Andouille sausage, melted pepper jack, grilled onions on a Kaiser bun with a side of black pepper slaw. More newsworthy fun and boozy brunches can be found at their Moreland Avenue location.
After closing the original Peachtree Road location in 2007 to make way for the surrounding Buckhead development, the city's go-to futbol-watching spot returned in full force in 2008 before expanding with a Midtown location last March. As expected, the pub fare (especially their $5 happy hour menu) is full of finger-licking fried options, but one bite of the underrated grilled chicken and bacon sandwich with spinach, Tillamook cheddar and their own Colman's honey mustard pressed between ciabatta bread will have you doing a double take. Wash it down with a "Dirty Hippie" – Sweetwater 420 mixed with Guinness – to dine like a true Atlanta United FC fan.
Word on the street is that Vinings favorite Muss and Turners has not just one kicking chicken sandwich, but two mouthwatering options on their lunch menu. We know were we are getting our next fix. Join us by choosing from the Tuscan Raider – Brined Big Green Egg grilled chicken, prosciutto, Italian herbs, melted mozzarella cheese and garlic creme fraiche on focaccia – or the The Funky Chicken, that instead piles the Brined Big Green Egg grilled chicken with Nueske's bacon, provolone cheese and truffle aioli on a French bun. Sandwiches here come in two sizes: Pretty darn big, or large, so bring your appetite.
Sometimes nothing else will cut it but a good craft beer and something deep-fried. Other times, your current health kick is coinciding with the rest of your table's craving for classic bar food. Tucked away on one of Midtown's quainter corners, Cypress Street Pint & Plate can satisfy both, and for the days you're leaning towards the latter, stay on the wagon with their tasty quinoa wrap – grilled chicken, radish pico de gallo, guacamole and cilantro sauce that won't last long on your plate. When only something covered in buffalo sauce will do, indulge the craving sans the guilt with their buffalo grilled chicken sandwich, topped with spicy mayo and served on brioche. In other words, it is possible to come here without eating a burger between two Sublime Doughnuts (but that's a different story).
Where else can you find sandwiches this good? But seriously, that question is not rhetorical – comment to let us know where you get your fix, then tune in to Atlanta Eats every Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on Peachtree TV for more helpings of the city's foodie side.