There's a regional fried-chicken chain that is way better than KFC or Popeyes — here's what it's like to eat there
Bojangles' explosive IPO in May put the company on the map across the US — especially in regions outside the south sadly lacking in chicken and biscuits. However, for long-time fans, the chain's appeal is nothing new.
Bojangles has reported 22 consecutive quarters of positive comparable restaurant sales, the company reported in November. A large reason for that growth: what Bojangles calls a "loyal, cult-like following."
As a Bojangles fan, I decided it was time to stop by the location in my hometown of Durham, North Carolina, and revisit how the chain has built its following.
Bojangles was founded in 1977 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Today, the chain has 657 locations, primarily in the Carolinas, including my personal go-to location in Durham.Kate Taylor
The chain is known for its "chicken 'n 'biscuits." The chicken is hand-breaded and never frozen, while biscuits are made from scratch and baked fresh every 20 minutes.Kate Taylor
Other standouts on Bojangles menu are the sides, or, as Bojangles calls them, fixin's, including cole slaw, "picnic grits," cajun-flavored pinto beans, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, and "Bo-Tato Rounds" (mini hash browns).Kate Taylor
The service is relatively speedy. In my experience, the longest wait tends to be prior to ordering. I can't remember an experience visiting a Bojangles and not having to wait behind others in line, no matter the time — something that makes sense, as business is reasonably spread out throughout the day. Breakfast makes up 38% of sales, while lunch and snacks make up 39%.Kate Taylor
I ordered Chicken Supremes, Cajun fries, and a biscuit. The Supremes are adequate chicken tenders — a little drier than I remember, and much better when sandwiches between the delicious, crumbly biscuit.Kate Taylor
Along with the biscuit, the fries are what stood out in my meal. Bojangles is known for its "Cajun" flavoring, and has a large container of spices that customers can shake on their fries. It's a specific enough flavor that it gives the chain something special and craveable that keeps bringing customers back for more.Kate Taylor
My friend ordered the two-piece dinner, with dirty rice. I much prefer Bojangles' chicken on the bone if it isn't going to be sandwiched in a biscuit. The dirty rice is tasty and, perhaps more importantly, something you're only going to find at a Southern chain like Bojangles.Kate Taylor
Also noteworthy: Bojangles utilizes the spork, perfect for offerings like mashed potatoes and dirty rice.Kate Taylor
One iconic Bojangles offering I skipped: the Bo-Berry Biscuit. The biscuit is good, but with the icing on top, way too sweet for me to actually enjoy. However, I know that many believe the Bo-Berry Biscuit is the best thing on the menu. In any case, a Bojangles article that skips over the treat feels incomplete, even if I personally am not a fan.Bojangles
However, the sweet tea is one of my personal favorite aspects of the Bojangles experience. The company says the tea is "steeped the old-fashioned way," which makes the drink sweeter than it ever could be if you simply added sugar to cold iced tea. In fact, one of the few high school chemistry lessons I remember is going to Bojangles to learn how "supersaturation" works, as sugar is absorbed by the hot tea in preperation.Kate Taylor
At Bojangles, tea refills are readily available. I get one, despite the fact that a regular, 22 oz. sweet tea with ice contains 25 grams of sugar — half of the FDA's recommended daily dosage.Kate Taylor
Despite my love for Bojangles, I must admit that the location's design isn't anything special. However, with 80% of revenue generated by drive-thru and take-out, it doesn't have to be.Kate Taylor
While I consider myself a Bojangles fan, I only visit about twice a year — once every time I'm in North Carolina. The true "Bo fanatics," as the company calls them, visit multiple times a week. Currently, most of these fanatics reside in the Carolinas, but the company hopes to expand to more than 3,500 locations nationwide. While some of Bojangles core offerings are foreign in regions to the north and west, the company is well-positioned in the current culinary zeitgeist, as fried chicken chains like Chick-fil-A explode and the appetite for all-day-breakfast increases. If these trends continue, Bojangles' cult could take over the entire US.Kate Taylor
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