Finally, Two Overrated Chick-Fil-A’s Are Coming to the Capital Region!
My gosh, what's up with the Capital Region's obsession with Chick-fil-A?
Has any area done more clucking about the arrival of a fast-food chain more than we have?
Great news: We're getting 2 Chick-fil-A's in the area sometime soon. So, can we cool it with all the hype, speculation, rumors, and proposed buildings, etc.?
It's clucking ridiculous.
A few weeks ago I was traveling back to Albany after a wonderful vacation down in the US Virgin Islands. Our flights were out of Newark Airport, so even though our vacation was over, I still had a 2 1/2 hour drive back home. I was exhausted and a bit road weary, as was my girlfriend Samantha, but we were both pretty hungry. I was happy just hitting up any of the rest areas to grab a snack, but Sam was hell-bent on exiting the highway and venturing into any of the many Chick-fil-A's in the New York/New Jersey area, and they're literally everywhere.
I like Chick-fil-A, but I really just wanted to get home and didn't care enough about their chicken to warrant the hour diversion and so I politely told her so.
The tension in the car was real. There were a few moments right after I turned down Chick-fil-A that I thought she was gonna toss me out of the car and carry on without me AKA kill me and chuck me in a ditch on Rt 17.
But she showed restraint.
Fast forward to just this past weekend. Once again, we were down in the NJ/NY area for a Yankee game, traveling with my son 6-year-old son Brody. On the way back up to Albany after the game, we were hungry. This time we stopped at a Chick-fil-A because I didn't think I would survive the second refusal of their preeminent poultry in the span of a few weeks. I've had it maybe 10-12 times in my whole life, and each time it gets more and more underwhelming. In fact, I think it's kind of overrated.
So let me first say, that as far as fast-food restaurants go, they have some of the best service and cleanest restaurants hands down. That's not even debatable. By in large, the workers actually seem to give a cluck about their job.
And while I feel like the service in the Northeast is still top-notch, it's not nearly as good as some of the Chick-fil-A's I've been to down south. But that's expected; people up here aren't as friendly. The very best employees up here would be some of the most average employees down south.
It's good...not great, it's good. It's fresh, usually pretty hot but as far as chicken sandwiches go, Chick-fil-A is a good sandwich.
But if you were to blind taste test Chick-fil-A (without ever having tried a chicken sandwich before) against Popeye's or even the new Burger King Deluxe Ch'King Sandwich, it would come in 3rd place. Nobody would choose Chick-fil-A's over those two.
And that's not even including the chicken sandwiches I've had at local places like Juniors and Crave in Albany, Hatties in Saratoga, or the very best area-made chicken sandwich I've ever had from Kitchen 216 on Central Ave.
Some people in the Capital Region have been known to literally buy a cheap airline ticket just so they can sit and eat Chick-fil-A at Albany International Airport. That blows my freaking mind. Imagine buying an airline ticket- not so that you can go away on vacation - so that you can eat chicken in a small chair next to a phone charger.
What's next, booking a flight to Tampa so you can sit and read magazines inside Hudson News?
Based upon the dozen or so times I've eaten it, the experience has gotten progressively less exciting. The service - especially in the northeast - is good, but not exemplary. The restaurants are clean, but not spotless and the bathroom I was in over the weekend was no better than a Sunoco.
And, yes the chicken is good but it's not better than Popeyes or even BK these days and DEFINITELY not better than Hatties or Kitchen 216.
Glad we're getting two of them though. And when traffic is backed up for 3 miles to eat chicken, you can always buy a cheap ticket to Tampa out of Albany International Airport and eat your overrated Chick-fil-A (while charging your phone) outside of Gate 3.