Out with the Homestyle and in with the Classic. Wendy’s updated their original fried chicken sandwich to rearm itself for the ongoing fried chicken sandwich wars and we took a look to see how the new chicken handled the spotlight.
Wendy’s describes their new Classic as:
A juicy, lightly breaded crispy chicken breast with crunchy lettuce, tomato, mayo, and the perfect pickles, all on a toasted bun.
Despite the Pretzel Pub sandwich varieties still being available on menus, Wendy’s has quietly unveiled a new fried chicken makeover to their Homestyle Fillet. The Classic Chicken Sandwich replaces it with advertised improvements including being crispier, juicer, and and more flavorful. This is pretty much all of the elements you notice in fried chicken so this is a full blown overhaul.
In the past few years the fried chicken sandwich wars have garnered a large bit of attention from the public eye, with Chick Fil A and Popeye’s being the knockdown, drag out, heavyweights in the field. While those sandwiches are basic as can be with only the bun, pickles, a sauce (in Popeye’s case) and the fried chicken being present, Wendy’s is offering more of their classic mix of produce with lettuce, tomato, and the new addition of pickles to this sandwich.
First it must be said, that while in the process of ordering my sandwich from the local eating hole, I was warned at the drive thru with a wilted, soggy sign that there was some sort of lettuce shortage due to supplier issues, so that lettuce would no longer be a part of any sandwich offering.
This subtraction wasn’t much of a deterrent due to the fact that lettuce probably shouldn’t be on it to begin with, especially when silky, wet lettuce only adds to the slop factor of take out fast food.
Unveiling the sandwich, I can’t help but say that the actual look of the sandwich was a tad underwhelming. Other than the premium bun, the sandwich really doesn’t display the pizazz a fast food review blogger typically wakes up for. But the real star of the show here is the chicken so that’s what we’ll focus on.
Considering the fact that the open face of this sandwich consisted of a three tiny pickles, a tomato that looked it got mugged on the way to the sandwich store, and a smattering of mayo that was so tiny that it couldn’t even be seen, it definitely wouldn’t be hard to focus solely on the chicken.
It’s been quite some time since I had the classic Wendy’s homestyle filet but if memory serves correct, it has more of thin, seasoned breading, that didn’t provide much crisp but focused more on the juicy undertones of the chicken. While the bread coverage is decent, and the cross section of this chicken is pure white as you’d like, the actual girth and height of the chicken doesn’t scream premium.
Biting down I will say that the filet was surprisingly crisp and crunchy despite the appearance. It had that flash crispy factor that you’re looking for in a fried chicken sandwich. The chicken itself was juicy and definitely had the taste of a bird that was allowed out for a stroll back in the day.
The chicken wasn’t terribly seasoned and completely relies on the crispiness of the breading and the quality of the chicken for taste. I personally prefer the southern style seasoning and spiced nature of Chick Fil A’s chicken here. The Wendy’s chicken yearns for a powerful sauce to enhance the experience here as the dot of mayo on my sandwich was a sad joke.
Overall the chicken here is a definite improvement over what it is replacing, but it still is a couple shades below the Spicy Chicken at Wendys and the original chicken offerings at Chick Fil A. Plus my sandwich experience here was weak sauce at best.
Wendy’s Original Chicken Sandwich: 4/10
Wendy’s New Chicken Filet: 6/10