We’ve already welcomed the Chipotle of burgers and the Chipotle of pizza into our fast-casual market.
If you had asked me what would come next, I never would have answered chicken salad.
But on Monday afternoon I stared blankly at the 15 different varieties on Chicken Salad Chick’s menu at the new Bradenton restaurant in the Shoppes of Paradise Bay at the intersection of Cortez Road and 75th St. West.
I could have ordered chicken salad with cranberries and almonds or with hickory-smoked barbecue flavor. The Alabama-based chain had a chicken salad with pineapple and macadamia nuts. Another, the “Kickin’ Kay Lynne,” rolled together all my favorite food groups — buffalo sauce, ranch, bacon, cheddar cheese and jalapenos.
But I still almost chickened out.
Full disclosure, I’m not even sure I’ve ever eaten chicken salad before.
The right side of the menu looked much safer.
Actually, it looked like it was speaking directly to me.
“Deli Sandwiches: For those of you who have been dragged here by a chicken salad lover and are refusing to try something new … we made these just for you!”
I opted for the “chick trio” for $8.59, which is the diner’s choice of three from the 15 varieties. Before I knew it I had three ice-cream scoop-sized blobs of shredded chicken covered in mayonnaise in front of me.
I’m no chicken salad expert, but it was good.
I never would have asked the fast-casual dining gods for a restaurant entirely dedicated to chicken salads.
Actually I polled the Unravel staff about this and they would have asked for a mac n’ cheese, coleslaw, deviled egg, hummus, baked potatoes or breakfast potatoes restaurant.
But I digress.
The chicken salad concept is catching on in Bradenton.
Chicken Salad Chick had a packed house for lunch on Monday.
I’ve got a full belly and a surprising newfound realization that I actually like chicken salad.
And while I’d have rather had breakfast potatoes for a restaurant entirely dedicated to a bizarre side dish, the buffalo chick salad I ordered hit the spot.
So what other kind of food should have its own fast casual restaurant? Take our quiz and let us know what you’d like to see.