The world changed on Aug. 12, 2019, when Popeyes fired the opening salvo in the chicken sandwich wars. Today that battle rages on, with new combatants appearing seemingly every other week.
Add Taco Bell to the scrum now. The chain has introduced its own take on the chicken sandwich, called the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco. The two varieties (semi-spicy and actual spicy) will go on sale March 11 for $2.49 in Nashville and Charlotte for a limited time. The rest of the country will have to wait until later this year.
The chicken sandwich wars were some of the last pure Internet fun in the pre-pandemic days. Americans, exhausted after three years of political battling, found something new to rally around—a sandwich. Popeyes sold out of its entire two-month inventory in just two weeks. When the sandwich went back on sale in November, people clogged streets and parking lots to get their hands on one. It was the culinary equivalent of Bitcoin.
Of course, nothing good and pure can last, not even a cultlike obsession over a sandwich. Noting that fanaticism, and wary of Chick-fil-A’s growing strength in the fast-food marketplace, it wasn’t long before every fast-food restaurant announced plans to roll out a new or upgraded chicken sandwich of their own.
McDonald’s quickly began testing two versions of a chicken sandwich in several states. The Crispy Chicken Sandwich was topped with butter and crinkle-cut dill pickles while the Deluxe Chicken Sandwich is topped with tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo. Both are served on a buttered potato roll.
More recently, Wendy’s debuted a Jalapeño Popper Sandwich, and Shake Shack added a chicken sandwich with a spicy-sweet Gochujang glaze.
Taco Bell’s sandwich/taco hybrid will feature a piece of all-white-meat chicken marinated in jalapeño buttermilk and fried with a crunchy tortilla chip coating. It’s served in a taco-shaped piece of puffy bread and topped with a creamy chipotle sauce. The spicy version includes jalapeño slices.
And yeah, we want to try this one too.