No Debate Here: 12 Great Chicken Sandwiches to Try in Columbia SC
Wednesday, November 10, 2021 12:00 AM by Dayna Cantelmi
Following the famous Popeye’s or Chick-fil-a sandwich debate that took over the nation, more and more chains have thrown their own signature chicken sandwiches into the mix. Well, we’ve always been fans of keeping it local and are here to enlighten you on a variety of chicken sandwich offerings found at homegrown establishments all over town.
Tuesdays in Columbia are practically a weekly holiday, because it means Spotted Salamander is serving up one of their speciality fried chicken sandwiches. From buffalo and honey chipotle options to fried chicken covered in pimento cheese and bbq mayo, Fried Chicken Tuesday runs the gamut of all toppings and flavors.
Since 1907, the people of Columbia SC have been loyal to Drake’s Duck-In on Main Street. If you’re a traditionalist who doesn’t need all the bells and whistles to accompany your chicken sandwich, then this is the place for you. Just good ‘ol chicken, made simply and made well, on a biscuit, bun or in a wrap.
If it’s spice you seek, you’re sure to find it on Bourbon’s Cajun-Creole menu. Their Viet-Cajun Fried Chicken Sandwich is no exception, boasting pickled cucumber, radish, carrots and jalapeños, a soy-honey glaze, sesame ginger mayo and cilantro on a brioche bun.
The Fried Chicken Biscuit at Rambo’s Fat Cat Biscuits in NoMa is enough to hold you over for two meals. What can only be described as an absolute slab of crunchy and juicy fried chicken is supported by a heavenly buttermilk biscuit and punctuated with pickles and scallion aioli. Add a side of cheesy hash brown bake or blue corn grits with pimento cheese and you really may not need to eat again at all for the rest of the day.
Northern and Southern cuisine come together at River Rat Brewery with their Pimento Chicken Philly. House-made pimento cheese melts over a medley of brined chicken, green peppers and onions on a hoagie roll. ‘Tis a thing of beauty.
Prepare to be amazed, for the Fried “Chicken” Sandwich that makes special appearances at the A Peace of Soul food truck is entirely vegan. Crisped to perfection, the sandwich comes with a thick slice of tomato, lettuce, pickles and a special sauce and we can confidently say you won’t miss the real thing at all.
Keep a glass of water within reach when you order the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich at Black Rooster in West Columbia. Not for the faint of heart, this sandwich truly packs the heat. But in an addicting way that keeps you coming back for bite after bite. Pro tip – get there in time for happy hour and you can get this five-alarm bad boy for a steal at only $10.
This authentic Italian specialty shop in Five Points knows how to make a serious sub. Show you’re in the know and order The Jackie Jr. off their secret menu. Chicken cutlets are accompanied by lettuce, pickles, hot pepper spread and Mike’s Hot Honey for a combination that’ll have your tastebuds dancing. Bonus – visit Enzo’s Spuntino inside Olympia Mills for a whole different lineup of breakfast and lunch offerings. The Vito is comprised of chicken cutlets, cheddar, slaw, pickles and signature comeback sauce pressed into a hot panini.
When you’re not in the mood for pizza, a solid go-to at Thirsty Fellow in the Vista is the Carolina Chicken Sandwich. Now they’re chicken tenders are great as is, but throw them on a hoagie roll with provolone cheese, applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and chipotle sauce for an added zing and you may have a new menu favorite.
Bernie’s, located on Bluff Road, invites you to “Come Try My Chicken.” Okay, you don’t have to tell us twice. Consistently considered some of the best fried chicken in town, you can’t go wrong with the Fried Chic Filet Sandwich or Club and you certainly can’t beat the prices.
Satisfy your Mediterranean cravings without going heavy on the lamb by opting for a Chicken Gyro from Al-Amir’s NoMa Bistro Mediterranean Grill instead. Lettuce, tomato, onions, feta and tzatziki are tucked inside a toasty warm pita that’s sure to make your stomach happy.
The Chicken Parm Sandwich is just one of the many delicioso Italian eats on the menu at Za’s on Devine. Breaded and pan-seared chicken breast is nestled onto a toasted Amoroso hoagie roll and topped with mozzarella, pickle slices and pepperoncini. Talk about a comfort meal.
We know South Carolina barbecue tends to favor pulled pork, but don’t sleep on smoked chicken. At Railroad BBQ, order up The Rail Yard – tender chicken pulled to perfection and topped with coleslaw and pickles – and thank us later.
Quite possibly the most famous chicken salad in town can be found at The Gourmet Shop in Five Points. In fact, it’s literally named “Our Famous Chicken Salad” on the menu. Enjoy it on a warm croissant and topped with lettuce and tomato for a lunch that’ll have you coming back for more (and taking pints of chicken salad home with you!).
Cozy up at BLD Diner in Trenholm Plaza with an Open Face Hot Chicken sandwich. Buttermilk fried chicken is prepared with an herb and pepper blend, then piled high with green tomato slaw, banana peppers and buttermilk dressing, all atop a thick slice of Texas Toast. Utensils necessary.
Pop over to Lexington and see if you have what it takes to tackle the Bubbas Sweet Heat - a towering colossus of a sandwich that stars a tossed honey and sriracha fried chicken breast paired with pickles, an egg over easy, pimento cheese and an accent of honey drizzled over the whole thing. Go ahead and plan for a nap afterward.