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Restaurant Review: Chick-fil-A: More bang for your Cluck

Grade: A+

As many “born and raised” Mainers know, we don’t get out much. I’ve only ever travelled in tiny increments, never leaving the United States except to go to Canada twice. I’ve been to South Carolina, which one would think would have been my best chance to try Chick-fil-A, but alas, my first opportunity did not present itself until Friday.

Still, my friends and social media have always talked Chick-fil-A up, so I was a little excited. I was, however, a little conflicted, having disagreed in the past with some of the commentary by Chick-fil-A’s chief operating officer.

The Chick-fil-A in Bangor opened its doors the day before my visit. I was apprehensive about how long I imagined our wait time to be. I just wanted to enjoy some chicken in a timely manner.

When my two friends and I arrived, the line was peeking out of the door. It was a bit chilly and I had mistakenly worn Birkenstocks. Now I was hungry and my toes were cold.

After about five minutes of waiting, we made it into the part of the line that was safe inside the restaurant. The line moved a lot faster than I thought it would. A-plus.

Between my two friends and I, only one of us had ever been to a Chick-fil-A before. She is from Chicago, where there are multiple Chick-fil-A locations. She instructed the two of us about what to get before we reached the registers: I would get a regular chicken sandwich and nuggets and my other friend would get the spicy chicken sandwich, as she is more partial to spicy food than me.

The prices were great. I paid for my meal and the meal of my friend from Chicago and the total came to about $14 or $15. We got a ton of food for that price. I am impressed.

After ordering, we sat down at a table in the very back corner. That’s one thing I feel is important to mention: there are plenty of seating options, even during the opening weekend rush. The décor in the restaurant was higher-end, too. I’m unsure of what I expected — perhaps dingier seating that’s typical of fast food chains like Subway or McDonald’s. Anyhow, the Chick-fil-A interior is classy and well-decorated.

Some of our food was ready right away, but some took a bit longer. My Chicago friend’s milkshake, for example, had to be delivered to the table post-register.

I dug into my first ever Chick-fil-A nugget with the classic Chick-fil-A sauce. The morsel melted in my mouth. I expected a chicken nugget similar to that of Burger King, but instead I got a legitimate nugget of chicken (it wasn’t re-shaped to be the “chicken nugget shape” that we all know and sort of love) with a not-too-greasy breading. It was the closest thing to a homemade chicken nugget I will ever get. The Chick-fil-A sauce was tangy, but also a tinge smoky, similar to barbeque sauce, which was an interesting and welcome taste I wasn’t expecting.

The classic chicken sandwich wasn’t too bad either! It reminded me a little of the chicken sandwich at McDonald’s, but this one was definitely better; I could tell the accoutrements were fresh. The lettuce even snapped when I crunched into the sandwich. The only thing it was missing was some onion. I would have welcomed onion on my sandwich.

I deeply enjoyed the waffle fries as well. I don’t have any special or enticing ways to describe them. They’re nearly indescribable. The only thing I will say is that they are delicious and you should go try them for yourself. Don’t forget to dip them in the Chick-fil-A sauce.

To accompany my meal, I got a cup of freshly squeezed lemonade (which actually had lemon pulp in it), which an employee offered to refill when it became empty. I thought that was unique. It was this business’s opening weekend, the place was packed, the line was out the door…and there were still employees playing server, taking the time to offer to clear the table or refresh your beverage.

For the final touch, after I was full to the brim and my friends nearly had to roll me out of the restaurant, someone (that I can only assume is a manager of some sort) thanked us for coming to Chick-fil-A by giving the three of us vouchers for free sandwiches during our next visit. These vouchers don’t expire until 2017 and you can bet that I’m going to use mine within the next month, because now I’m hooked.

Overall, my Chick-fil-A experience was enjoyable. No wonder Chick-fil-A is so popular around the country. I predict, like other recent fast-food chain openings in Bangor (Chipotle, for example), that it will do well. I’m guessing even customers from southern Maine will make the trek up here to savor some great chicken (and sauce).

Go visit Chick-fil-A if you’ve never been! It’s certainly an experience worth having.

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