Who Needs Popeyes: 9 Places to Find a GD Delicious Fried Chicken Sandwich in Cincinnati

Skip the fast food hype and go local

click to enlarge CityBird - PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
CityBird

The internet is lit up with debates over which corporate chicken is best. And despite how Popeyes and Chick-fil-A have divided the country more than ever, these massive chain restaurants aren't going to change your life with a chicken sandwich.

(The national fried freakout backstory is that Popeyes introduced a chicken sandwich earlier this month and people lost their damn minds — waiting in long-ass lines, joking about selling them for $1,000 each, etc. Then Chick-fil-A was all, "We invented the chicken sandwich," and Wendy's was all Wendy's. Brand wars ensued.)

We should all come together to support local businesses that serve up fried chicken sandwiches right.

While there’s no shame in indulging in fast food every once in a while for the sake of convenience, there are too many excellent local options available for your favorite chicken sandwich to be from some mega corporation’s national menu.

A locally owned spot will almost always make a sandwich far superior to any chain's offering, so let's stick it to corporate fast food and take a look at where you can get the best fried chicken sandwiches in the Queen City. Isn’t that better than arguing with strangers on the internet?

B&A Street Kitchen — B&A Street Kitchen serves fried chicken sandwiches for breakfast and lunch in OTR. In the morning you can enjoy their barbecue fried chicken and egg biscuit, with housemade barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese and a fried egg. Multi-generational chicken sandwiches are fun, but which came first: the fried chicken or the fried egg? For lunch, try the fried chicken avocado club sandwich made with bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and avocado ranch dressing on a brioche bun. 1500 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, bastreetkitchen.com.

Boomtown's Yukon - PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Boomtown's Yukon
Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey — Boomtown has two stellar chicken sandwich options: the Yukon (fried chicken, sawmill gravy, bacon and smoked cheddar) and the Redwood, which has Nashville-style hot chicken and tangy house pickles. Don't be fooled by the biscuit, they're not just for breakfast. And don't forget the restaurant's bar is filled to the cork with whiskey selections. 1201 Broadway St., Pendleton, boomtownbiscuitsandwhiskey.com.

CHX — CHX takes some fried bantys (fried chicken strips larger than nuggets, smaller than tenders) and puts them between Texas toast from Sixteen Bricks, topped with lettuce, pickles, American cheese and mayo. You can get it spicy or original; either way it's going to be better than anything from drive-thru. 1211 Broadway St., Pendleton, chxcincy.com.

CityBird — CityBird serves up three different sandwich options including the classic CityBird, with basic tenders, slaw, sauce and pickles. Their lemon-thyme option tops the tenders with shredded iceberg lettuce, lemon-and-thyme ranch dressing and pickles. If you like it spicy, their hot option has smoky tenders with a "green goddess slaw" and Sriracha, all on a potato bun. They also serve really good fries. 1344 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine; 11309 Montgomery Road, Suite D, Symmes Township, citybirdotr.com.

click to enlarge Fiery Hen - PHOTO: IZZY VIOX
Photo: Izzy Viox
Fiery Hen
Fiery Hen — Fiery Hen challenges your spice tolerance with their Nashville hot chicken options: at the bottom of the fire pole is the Yella Belly, then Knoxville Mild, Commodore Caliente, up to Nashville Hot and, at the top, Bless Your Heart. If you can take the heat, you deserve a medal. The hot chicken sandwich is served with slaw, pickles and pimento cheese. There's also the Basic Chick sandwich, with Yella Belly fried chicken, pickles and chipotle ranch sauce. Cool down with some banana pudding; it'll probably help. 26 W. Court St., Downtown, fieryhencincy.com.

Hi-Mark — From the teams behind Eli's BBQ and Pho Lang Thang, the Hi-Mark has two very different choices for your fried chicken fix. First, there's the chicken torta, which has the option of grilled or fried chicken, provolone, pico de gallo, avocado crema, refried beans and shredded lettuce on a Vietnamese baguette (add jalapeños if you like it muy caliente). Next, they serve a more basic fried chicken sandwich on a sesame bun along with a Buffalo chicken option with coleslaw and ranch/blue cheese. 3229 Riverside Drive, East End, thehimark.com.

click to enlarge Money Chicken - PHOTO: PROVIDED BY MONEY CHICKEN
Photo: Provided by Money Chicken
Money Chicken


Money Chicken — Money Chicken has taken the classic fried chicken sandwich and refined the spice blend to make one of the city's more unique spicy sandwiches. While the basic ingredients are not unusual — fried buttermilk-brined chicken breast with spicy honey, pickles and mayo on a potato bun — it's their Money Chicken Spice Blend that elevates everything thanks to the inclusion of Sichuan peppercorn. Spicy and slightly numbing, it's a unique sensation more Westerners should embrace at the table. They also offer a tasty tempeh version for vegetarians or the chicken-averse. 300 E. Seventh St., Downtown, moneychicken.co.

Revolution Rotisserie & Bar — Revolution Rotisserie in OTR and Pleasant Ridge offers up the Lightning Fried Chicken sandwich, their take on Nashville hot chicken. The crispy breaded bird is served with "lightning sauce," coleslaw and crinkle-cut pickles on a brioche bun. 1106 Race St., Over-the-Rhine; 6063 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge, revolutionrotisserie.com.

Ron's Roost — Along with tons of delicious options, Ron's has a classic fried chicken breast sandwich made with lettuce, tomato and mayo on a toasted bun. Ron's is known in the neighborhood for its full bar, excellent barbecue options and live music. A good chicken sandwich makes them all the more appealing. 3853 Race Road, Bridgetown, ronsroost.net.


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