Some people might be surprised to find out that before 1990, beef and pork were more popular than chicken in the US. That’s no longer true, as chicken is now the clear winner when it comes to the most consumed meat in America. The average American will consume 99 pounds of chicken for the year, and only 57 pounds of beef and 53 pounds of pork.
Part of the reason why chicken is so popular is that the US has plenty of restaurants that serve chicken dishes. The most famous of them are the fast-food chicken chains, although they’re not all the same in terms of food quality and service. To make sure you’re getting your money’s worth, stick to the following chicken chain restaurants:
Popeyes is at the top of the food chain, so to speak, when it comes to chicken. This is absolutely the restaurant you go to when you’re in dire need of affordable spicy fried chicken. Regardless of which location you visit, each bite is simply scrumptious. The chicken meat is terrifically crunchy on the outside, and supremely juicy on the inside.
The brand has always been known for their bone-in chicken, but they sure made a really big splash in the fried chicken community with their launch of their Popeyes Fried Chicken. It was a social media sensation, and the chicken simply became a runaway bestseller. It was actually a rather simple sandwich, with a crispy chicken breast with pickles on a brioche bun, and then enhanced with your choice of Cajun sauce or mayo. But many regarded it as the absolutely most delicious chicken sandwich ever.
It is this chicken sandwich that really cement the placement of Popeyes at the top. Heck, someone allegedly tried to cut in line for the sandwich, and got stabbed to death for his impertinence. This is literally a chicken to die for.
Fanatics of Chick-fil-A stoutly maintain that the chicken here is as good as Popeyes’, if not even better. It’s true that many customers and experts regard Chick-fil-A as the best of all the fast-food restaurants, never mind just the best of the fast-food chicken joints.
It starts with their original chicken sandwich, which is also so good that it just amazes. They fry the chicken perfectly, the bun is perfectly buttery, and the pickle is the perfect partner for the chicken.
Then you also have the nuggets, which are terrific as well. And they’re even better when dipped in the nicely sweet Polynesian sauce.
And it’s not just about the chicken, either. The standards of excellence apply to everything in the menu, including the waffle fries and milkshakes.
Add the quality of the friendly service and the cleanliness of the locations (including the squeaky-clean bathrooms), and it’s just about perfect. Perhaps the only thing you might have against the brand is that their owners have political and religious opinions that might not perfectly align with yours, but when it comes to chicken, you really should leave the politics out the door.
This is a familiar brand if you’re a Floridian, as it has more than 50 locations in the state. The good news is that they do have a dozen more locations, though scattered in the Carolinas, New York, and New Jersey.
The brand name stands for People Dedicated to Quality, and they’re absolutely serious about living up to their name. The chicken they serve is 100% completely natural, without any steroids and hormones. And it’s always fresh, and never frozen.
They don’t serve bone-in chicken though (at least so far), as they focus more on chicken nuggets, tenders, and sandwiches. They also serve salads as well. And that freshness also applies to the sauces and salad dressings as well. They make these things fresh each day. Everything’s great, especially at these low PDQ menu prices.
Come here, and you can maximize the visit by getting the fabulous Honey Butter Chicken Sandwich. They dip the crispy chicken in the homemade honey butter, add some crunchy pickles, and serve on a toasted brioche bun. They also have 9 different sauces for the chicken, and you really should try the Sweet Sriracha and Buffalo Bleu.
If ever PDQ expands nationwide, Popeyes and Chick-fil-A will have another serious rival.
Now if you’re more of a chicken wing fan, then you might want to go to Wingstop instead. They’re always fresh, plump, and juicy here, and you’ll never feel like you’re not getting your money’s worth. Here, you’re getting both quality and quantity.
But the real fun in Wingstop is the wide range of available flavor options. Spice fans will want to go with the Mango Habanero, which is just about perfect. Some say that the Atomic wings are even hotter (and therefore better), but your beer better be ready after each bite.
And if you prefer the mellower options, you also have the Mild (toned-down version of the Original Hot) along with the buttery Garlic Parmesan and the sweet and tangy Hawaiian.