Look, I know breakfast is my thing, but I have to be honest – I’m pretty much always hungry for a fried chicken sandwich. Which means I’m constantly thinking about them, which means I couldn’t resist rounding up 16 fried chicken sandwiches worth trying in Columbus – some for breakfast, some for lunch/dinner, and a handful of which are vegetarian or vegan options!
1. Katalina’s | Breakfast Chick’wich
The pancake balls and sweet & spicy bacon and pork sandwich get all the press at Katalina’s, but my personal favorite menu item is the Breakfast Chick’wich. It layers a hefty brined chicken breast rolled in crushed Shagbark chips, plus a fried egg, slice of cheddar, and a dash of Frank’s on ciabatta.
2. Boxwood Biscuit Co. | The Firebird & The Prairie Bird
Boxwood kicked off during the pandemic as a pop-up at Lawbird cocktail bar, and just recently they landed their own brick and mortar in Short North. There’s a heavy biscuit emphasis on the menu, but their fried chicken sandwiches deserve attention, too. We’ve loved the Prairie Bird with American cheese, slaw, their house Franklin Frisco sauce, and maple mustard. The Firebird gives the fried chicken a spicy glaze, then tops it with goddess ranch and pickled jalapeno.
3. Seitan’s Realm | Dude Ranch
Seitan’s Realm gets the award for one of the most delightfully punny restaurant names ever. They’ve also succeeded at cultivating an entirely plant-based deli menu that’s beautiful and crave-able by any measure. Their Dude Ranch uses a fried seitan chikun patty topped with lettuce, tomato, vegan cheese and bacon, and plenty of ranch. Bonus: they also have Buffalo Chikun and Buffy Mac sandwiches.
4. Wolf’s Ridge Brewing | Hot Chicken Sandwich
WRB has always had some version of a fried chicken sandwich on their taproom menu. Currently it’s their take on a hot chicken sandwich: fried chicken thighs, coleslaw, and hopped pickles on a brioche bun. Perfect pairing with any of their lauded house brews.
5. Fried Chicka Bang | The Chicka Bang
Fried Chicka Bang started as a delivery only fried chicken sandwich concept during the pandemic, operating out of the Polaris and Arena District Sunny Street Cafe locations. The sandwiches have fun names like the Sporty Spice, Bless Your Heart, Alabama Barbie. A good starting point is the Chicka Bang: a smoky and spicy fried chicken sandwich topped with mayo and pickles.
6. Meshikou Chikin | Spicy Chikin Sandwich
Last year, this northwest-side ramen shop opened a sister business next door focused on all things chicken. Their sandwich uses a fried chicken thigh spiked with spicy mayo, pickles, and a Szechuan Nom Nom sauce.
7. Wario’s Beef & Pork | Chicken Cutlet
Wario’s is one of the stand-out hits of 2020. The small sandwich shop in the Arena District, helmed by chef Stephan Madias, serves monster deli sandwiches that instantly have you planning a return visit. Seriously, just writing this has me hankering for a cheesesteak or cold cut. Wario’s also features this incredible chicken cutlet sandwich, so big you can barely get your mouth around it. A tender fried cutlet is folded over and over, then topped with broccoli rabe, picante provolone, tomato butter, and house sauce on Matija bread.
8. Eden Burger | Chick’n Parm Sandwich
Like Seitan’s Realm, Eden Burger has made a name for itself whipping up plant-based versions of all your favorites – in this case: burgers, fries, and shakes. Their take on chicken sandwiches uses vegan Chick’n as the base. The Chick’ Parm layers it with vegan parmesan and gouda cheeses with marinara on a brioche bun.
9. The Goat at LC RiverSouth | Hot Chicken Biscuit
I still maintain that The Goat downtown flies under the radar. Their coffee service is quite good, and their breakfast and brunch menus show some thoughtful consideration for dish construction. The Hot Chicken Biscuit is straightforward but easy to love: a buttery biscuit housing tender fried chicken, a generous dollop of pimento cheese, and pickles.
10. Preston’s | Honey’s Chicken Sandwich & Crispy Lion’s Mane Mushroom Sandwich
My love of Preston’s is well documented. Their burgers may be the best in the city, but don’t scoff at their fried chicken. The chicken sandwich features a tender piece of fried chicken, but even better than that is the massive veggie option with big pieces of succulent lion’s mane mushrooms wrapped in crispy breading. Both sandwiches complete the picture with shaved onion, red cabbage, house pickles, and lemon thyme mayo.
11. The Crispy Coop | Chicken Sammy
Formerly Uncle Nick’s Greek Fried Chicken, The Crispy Coop has quickly grown to two locations – one in Grandview and one in Pickerington. Their main thing is fried chicken wings, thighs, etc., but their sandwich towers with chicken, slaw, pickles, and your choice of sauces.
12. Cluck Norris | Angry Bird
Cluck Norris (which also gets an award for a great punny name) is one of the featured vendors in the new Budd Dairy Food Hall. In addition to their physical stall, they quickly jumped on board with online delivery options. They of course have sandwiches, like a buffalo chicken slider and chicken BLT. The Angry Bird uses a spicy breading, pickles, and ranch with a kick.
13. The Eagle | Fried Chicken Sandwich
I was very excited when this Cincinnati fried chicken joint opened its first Columbus location a few years back. We had loved it when visiting Over-the-Rhine, and still enjoy every one of our visits. Their fried chicken sandwich hits all the right notes: fried chicken breast, cole slaw, spicy mayo, and pickles.
14. BrewDog DogTap & BrewDog Franklinton | Fried Chicken Sandwich
BrewDog’s Canal Winchester and Franklinton outposts feature pub menus that are designed to keep up with their beers. Their fried chicken sandwich has always made a fun pairing. It brings some heat to the table, with andouille-pimento cheese, habanero ranch, hot mustard BBQ, plus a little romaine and pickles.
15. Hot Chicken Takeover | Fried Chicken Sandwich
Hot Chicken is that beloved local institution that’s largely responsible for popularizing Nashville-style fried chicken to Columbus. My standard order is the sandwich, hot, with Ma’s Mac on the side. Technically it’s a sandwich, although you have your work cut out for you trying to hold it together, especially when you’re drizzling ranch all over it like I do.
16. Wildflower Cafe | Buffalo Fried Chicken Sandwich
Wildflower Cafe is a Clintonville stop, tucked into a smaller building next to a larger new development on Indianola. They’re known for easy-to-love comfort foods for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch – plus some popular weekly specials. On the lunch/dinner menu is the fried chicken sandwich – available in both regular and buffalo styles. They’re open for carryout, but re-open for dine-in on Wednesday, July 7!
17. Rockmill Tavern | Spicy Chicken
**NOTE: Rockmill Tavern is temporarily closed**
Rockmill produces some interesting tavern fare to pair with their Belgian-style brews. The Spicy Chicken sandwich has been a regular entry on the menu from day one. It stuffs a brioche bun with expertly fried chicken, bread and butter pickles, Fresno-honey butter, plus a secret sauce.
The Eagle, Crispy Coop, Meshikou, Seitan’s Realm, Cluck Norris, and Eden Burger photos courtesy of their respective Facebook pages. Wildflower photo courtesy of Mapquest. Fried Chicka Bang courtesy of them as well!