The launch of the first-ever fried chicken sandwich from Popeyes inspired a nation-wide fast food frenzy the likes of which we haven’t seen since the debut of KFC’s Double Down nearly a decade ago.
It all started in early August when Popeyes partnered with Sweet Dixie Kitchen, a Southern California restaurant that famously got busted selling the chain’s chicken during brunch, on an exclusive early launch of the new sandwich. The following week, this new dish — which is made with a fried chicken filet, sour pickles, and mayo on a brioche bun — was available at stores nationwide, and almost immediately fast-food fans started expressing their enthusiasm for the sandwich on Twitter. After a week of positive buzz, Popeyes’s rival, Chick-fil-A, tweeted a message attempting to claim ownership of the sandwich, which the Louisiana-themed chain instantly refuted.
As more chains jumped into the Twitter fight, fans of Popeyes and Chick-fil-A started taking sides in the sandwich war. Meanwhile, take writers from the New Yorker to the LA Times stated publishing their thoughts on the sandwich and the mania surrounding its release, while labor and animal rights activists dragged the media for its enthusiastic coverage of a cheap, mass-produced fast-food item. As more publications joined in the taste-testing and take-writing, the demand for the sandwich increased to the point where Popeyes locations across the country started running out of the coveted item.