Finding the Best Fried Chicken Sandwich in Spokane
While Southern fried chicken finds its origins in Scottish and West African cuisine, the fried chicken sandwich is a wholly American invention, and while Spokane isn’t yet a foodie destination, when it comes to fried chicken sandwiches, this town has a bevy of options. Therefore I made it my goal to try as many local fried chicken sandwiches as I could, and hopefully not die from a heart attack in the process.
I ordered chicken sandwiches at a total of 10 Spokane restaurants, from fancy to no-frills, traditional to vegetarian. Below are my totally untrained findings, in no particular order.
Stella’s serves up three styles of fried chicken sandwich: Southern, Korean, and Nashville Hot. As a sucker for all things spicy, I opted for their Nashville Hot, and I have to say, Stella’s has maybe the best fry on a chicken sandwich I’ve seen. Perfect color, juicy flavorful meat, and a simple white bun. However, to call this a Nashville Hot Chicken is an affront to anyone with a palate for spice. The menu says they toss the chicken in chili oil, which is a far cry from the proper Nashville Hot recipe of copious amounts of cayenne and black pepper. Nevertheless this sandwich is one of the best in town. It just isn’t very hot.
Poole’s Public House
This is your run-of-the-mill, overly salted, massive hunk of fried chicken breast that spills off the bun. I ordered mine with garlic aioli (you can also get Buffalo sauce) but couldn’t taste anything other than salt. Some people may really like this style, but I imagine they’ve never had a fried chicken sandwich the way it is meant to be, tasty as all get out with a delicate crispness, and chicken juice running down your chin. Poole’s ain’t it.
I’m from the South, and No-Li was the first, and still best, fried chicken sandwich I’ve had in Spokane. Chef Avont Grant’s take on a Nashville Hot Chicken hits all the right notes. The brioche bun, pickles, shredded lettuce, and dill sauce come together to bring Spokane the closest I’ve tasted to a real deal Southern-style fried chicken sandwich. Pro tip: If you want some real heat, ask the kitchen to make it extra hot.
Man cannot live on chicken alone, so I decided to give Spokane’s newest vegetarian restaurant, RÜT, a try. I was impressed. For a sandwich that is made entirely from soy and gluten, it sure doesn’t taste like it. Crispy and juicy, with thin shaved red onion and house-made pickles sandwiched between a locally made bun from Alpine Bakery, the Fried Not-Chicken Sandwich was awesome. In fact it was better than most of Spokane’s real chicken sandwiches.Pro tip: Order a side of the Thai Ginger Cauliflower Wings. You will not be disappointed.
Incrediburger & Eggs
Incrediburger offers a Korean fried chicken sandwich with a honey butter chile sauce, kimchi, and spicy ranch. I expected this combination to be dope, but it wasn’t the flavor explosion I was hoping for. Incrediburger uses chicken thighs for their sandwiches instead of the more popular breast. Thighs have a higher fat content, which usually results in juicier chicken, but all I tasted was tough meat and zero flavor. At least the beer was good.
Saranac Public House
Saranac offers a Dude-fil-A fried chicken sandwich, an obvious play on Chick-fil-A. It’s not bad. It’s not great. It just is. Fried golden brown, the chicken is a bit dry, and there isn’t a lot of flavor. The bun held together well, probably because the sandwich was devoid of sauce. If you’re looking for straightforward chicken sammie, you could do worse than Saranac, but you can do a lot better as well.
Barnwood attempts a Nashville Hot sandwich, and while spicier than Stella, the juiciness and sexy crisp fry are missing. Barnwood’s chicken sandwich is pretty unremarkable, but it isn’t terrible, plus it comes with a side of sweet potato fries which really do hit the spot.
One of my favorite restaurants in Spokane, Downriver embodies eclectic cuisine, but never goes over the top. They offer two fried chicken sandwiches (regular and barbecue) and both are great. The fry is one of the lightest in the city, but still crispy and juicy, which is everything you want from a sandwich. The only problem I had was that the bun fell apart and left my hands messy. Overall a solid choice.
Durkin’s Liquor Bar
Now this how you fry a chicken thigh. Dusted with Cajun seasoning, the meat was juicy and hot, and the house-made bun held the lettuce, pickle, mayo, and Mama Lil’s Hot Honey together. At $16 this is the most expensive of Spokane’s fried chicken sandwich offerings, but for my money, it is well worth it.
You can’t get any cheaper than Chicken-n-More’s Tiger Chicken Patty and still call it chicken. For $3.49 you get a chicken patty on a white hoagie bun, American cheese, and a dollop of barbecue sauce. Hungry? Double the meat for two bucks more. It ain’t fancy, but it is flavorful, and gets the job done.
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