Did you hear the great news from Flavortown? Guy Fieri is ready to take a big swing at established fast casual chicken franchises like Chick-Fil-A and Zaxby’s with his own chicken finger joint. It’s called Chicken Guy! and the burgeoning chain is all set to open it’s second restaurant in Aventura Mall in Miami.
Because Guy Fieri is a national treasure, this news took the internet by storm. Chicken Guy! restaurants feature 22 house made sauces, besting Chick-Fil-A in sheer variety. In fact, when you visit a Chicken Guy! chain, you’ll notice that the culinary TV star refers to himself The Boss Of Sauce right there on the packaging, which rules in its own kitschy way.
Earlier this week, while on vacation in Orlando, I got to experience Chicken Guy! in all its saucy glory. The flagship location is located at Disney Springs in Disney World, where I found myself doing a little pre-flight happy hour before heading back to California with my girlfriend and her family. This location opened in the fall of 2018, becoming a welcome, affordable dining option in a high-volume tourist area that’s littered with overpriced menus. Margarita Monday can make one pretty hungry, so our crew hit Guy’s Chicken Guy! for a late lunch at the suggestion of a waiter.
This puts me in a unique position to share a first person account of my experience at the latest addition to Guy Fieri’s empire. Since a lot of people haven’t experienced the greatness of Chicken Guy! yet, I wanted to post a Chicken Guy review to recap my experiences for the digital masses. I genuinely think Guy Fieri’s chicken chain is going to explode, especially as it finds strategic locations in high volume locations to thrive.
Hopefully, a Chicken Guy location opens up near you.
Guy’s general je ne sais quoi makes for a better fast casual chicken restaurant a la Raising Cane’s and Bojangles than, say, a huge eatery in Times Square with Guy-Talian nachos or Cajun chicken pasta. Unlike Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar – where we once had the greatest BroBible dinner meeting of all time – Guy’s Chicken has focus: Bangin’ fried chicken dishes with a massive assortment of sauces.
Here’s what I loved about it:
-The simplicity of the menu. Chicken tenders are the star attraction at Chicken Guy, which makes ordering a breeze. You can get them one of two ways: Crispy Fried or Grilled All-natural. There are a couple salads and six sandwich options, all of which include putting two chicken fingers on a roll of some sort with a sauce.
-The chicken fingers themselves are HUGE. Whatever Guy uses in his chicken feed to juice up his chickens is some seriously diesel, high octane shit. These chickens are monsters. One chicken finger at Chicken Guy is easily equal to two chicken fingers at Raising Cane’s or Chick-Fil-A.
-The sauces. What a variety! You get two sauces with each order of chicken tenders. I had no idea what to do when I ordered, so I seriously botched my sauce selection – I ordered Donkey Sauce (…which is just an aoli made from garlic, mustard, worcestershire, and lemon) and Ranchero Sauce, which is like a spicy garlic marinara sauce with that you’d put on huevos rancheros. In retrospect, I wish I went with a spicy option.
THE SAUCE MENU
Yea, that’s hard to read. Sorry. I snapped it in a hurry with margarita-goggles on. Here’s the full breakdown. The variety of sauces reminds me a lot of Sticky Fingers in New York City:
- Special sauce
- Donkey sauce
- Chipotle Ranch
- Curry Mayo
- Wasabi Honey
- Cumin Lime Mojo
- Bourbon Brown Sugar BBQ
- Bleu Cheese
- Buttermilk Ranch
- Lemon Pepper
- Honey Mustard
- Garlic Parmesan
- Sweet ‘N’ Sour
- Avocado Crema
- Nashville Hot Honey
- Peri Peri
- Habanero Hot Sauce
- Spicy Mayo
- Sweet Sriracha BBQ
-The batter and breading for the chicken fingers. Great chicken fingers start with tender, juicy chicken. They develop their flavor with amazing batter. The batter for Chicken Guy fingers is very different from the batter at other chains – It tastes like it’s made from Italian breadcrumbs, almost like the batter around mozzarella sticks you dip in marinara sauce from a diner. It’s way more crumb-y than the batters at southern chicken outposts like Raising Cane’s and Zaxby’s. The zesty Italian spices are noticeable and delightful.
-Props on the clean frying oil. I spent many years working in food service around deep fryers. Trust me, even if it’s chicken fingers out of a bag from Costco, there’s a noticeable difference in the quality of chicken fingers when they’re fried in fresh, clean oil. Dirty oil ruins the flavor of otherwise good chicken tenders.
-Fried pickles. Sans Hooters, you just can’t find a chain with good fried pickles these days. Guy is bringing back fried pickles and it’s glorious, especially when you have a wide assortment of sauces to dip them in.
-Friendly staff. When I asked for a doggie bag, the manager very genuinely asked me about my experience at this new Guy Fieri institution. He wanted to know what sauces I liked and if we were happy with our meals. Honey mustard and Wasabi Honey were the table favorites, which he seemed quite delighted to hear.
-The prices. Chicken Guy is EXTREMELY affordable, which makes it a diamond-in-the-rough when it comes to dining options on property at Disney World. This is a reason you should love it alone – You finally have something cheap to eat in a place where that’s virtually impossible. Good on you, Guy.
All things considered, I had a delightful experience at Chicken Guy. Raising Cane’s is my gold standard when it comes to great chicken finger chains, mostly because I love the Caniac Sauce. But Guy Fieri is certainly on pace to create a true competitor one it expands to a national scale.
I welcome the expansion, even if Donkey Sauce makes for a questionable dipping sauce.