McDonald’s Attempts to Bring Chick-Fil-A to Manhattan

While most typical fast food places (McD’s, BK, Wendy’s) are not considered for this site, there are a few chains that would be welcomed with open arms into the canon of acceptable Midtown Lunches if they were to decide to grace us with a franchise.  In N Out Burger, Baja Fresh, and Panda Express would be my personal dreams come true, and I know for a fact that there are alot of you who feel the same way about Chick Fil A.  As many commenters have mentioned, there is one in the NYU dining hall, but “technically” you need to be a student to check it out.

Last year, to steal business compete with Chick-Fil-A, McDonald’s introduced the “Southern Style Chicken Sandwich” to their menu, which stealsis supposed to replicate the Chick-Fil-A experience.  Well, after months of trying the sandwich out in various markets, Midtown Lunch’er Andre Mika (who writes one of my favorite blogs- has brought to our attention that the sandwich has arrived in New York City.  I haven’t had Chick-Fil-A in over 20 years (and I freaking hate McDonald’s), so to investigate this one, I’ve turned the case over to Andre, who is not only from the south (Louisiana), he is also a huge Chick-Fil-A fan.   Here is what he discovered…

The premise was too good to be true. McDonald’s, king of the “clone and sell a billion” fast food culture had introduced their new “Southern Style” chicken sandwich. To those of us who understand the McDonald’s mentality, it meant one thing. They had knocked off the famous Chick-Fil-A sandwich.

So let’s cut to the chase…

How is it? Well, that depends on your out of control craving for an actual Chick-Fil-A sandwich. If you are like me, a New Yorker who at one time lived with a few miles of Chick-Fil-A, and had access to the champion of all chicken sandwiches whenever you pleased, the sandwich is damn fine. If you get your Chick-Fil-A fill whenever you want it, the sandwich is a solid but failed attempt to dethrone the champ.


What They Got Right- The bun is soft and chewy, if not a bit sweaty like a real Chick-Fil-A. They give you a swipe of butter on the top bun, and 2 dill pickle slices, just like the real smack daddy. All “Southern Style” sandwiches I have tried have been hot, which is essential in either the Chick-Fil-A or McDonald’s versions.

What They Missed- Instead of the hot “foil” bag, McDonald’s uses their cardboard box. On top of that, the image on the box is that of a girl and a guy on a swing, with the girl’s leg slung over the guy’s. Strike 1. The chicken filet itself isn’t odd shaped and thick in places… like the Chick-Fil-A breast. Strike 2. The marinade is so light that they don’t capture the flavor of the original. Strike 3.

Final Thoughts: You could do a lot worse at McDonalds. Even though the sandwich has it faults, it is way above average for the chain, and the closest knock-off I have ever tasted. But in the words of Marvin Gaye, “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing Baby…”

Written by Andre Mika from 


  • As an educated gentleman (a PhD, if that excites you) originally from The South, I can assure you that nothing McDonalds serves can compare to Chick-Fil-A in any respect.

    My wife agrees with me on this of course. She can trace her ancestery to Sam Houston, by the way.

  • I literally gasped when reading this post’s title in my RSS feeder. For a second I thought, maybe, the goodness of Chick-Fil-A has finally arrived here in the city. I, too, grew up in the South and nothing will ever, ever compare to Chick-Fil-A.

  • Why would you tempt us so??? I was so happy I thought a Chick-Fil-A was opening up here and I was actually talking about it last night about how amazing it would be. The best part about Chick-Fil-A is how great everything is and really isn’t all *that* bad for you. If you want to die of congestive heart failure may I highly recommend the cajun filet biscuit from Bojangles.


  • So cruel, so cruel! Truitt Cathy must be cracking up over McDonald’s weak, weak attempt. I love that they even copied the signature pickle slice.

    Thanks for saving me the hassle (and the heartache), Andre.

  • Aw I thought I was going to read something about Chick Fil A coming to nyc…..

    NYU Weinstein hall’s Chick Fil A would be the quick fix you can get when you’re craving some. It’s not quite up to par but it’s there and it’s close. I don’t think McDonalds would even be at that level…

    Weinstein Hall cafeteria is open to the public, you do not need an NYU ID to get in or pay.

  • I had this sandwich from McDonald’s the other day and it sucks. The chicken was so juicy that I was grossed out, wondering what the juice was and where it came from. Chick-Fil-A need not worry. If McDonald’s ripped off their Polynesian sauce…now that would be a travesty.

  • Hyperbole much? While it’s by no means real ChickFilA, it fills the void when you don’t want to rent a car and drive to a mall in NJ, or sneak into an NYU dorm and eat their soggy, subpar sandwiches. (I’m a bit of an addict – I freeze party trays of nuggets when I visit family down South and fly them back up).

    As I’m sure everyone’s aware, the ChickFilA secret is a pickle juice marinade. In my limited taste tests, the McD’s breakfast chicken biscuits have had a much more pronounced pickle flavor (in a good way).

    I’m hoping that these stick around, esp with $1 sweet tea.

  • In mega-chain news, according to the NYTimes, Arby’s just bought out Wendy’s. What does that mean for their menus? Could this be a ML revolution??

  • Actually, to clarify, it’s the owner of Arby’s (Triarc) that’s buying Wendy’s.

  • The Chik-Fil-A cannot and will not be replicated – or even come close to – by any other food establishment unless they start pressure cooking/frying the chicken breasts and using the proper batter and seasoning. The pressure fry is what makes the Chik-Fil-A sandwich the absolute BOMB. So tender but with a beatiful firmness to it. Nothing compares.

    I also think a lot of respected chain resturants (In and Out, Chik Fil A) don’t want to open in NYC as the resturant will go to sh*t from a cleanliness and service perspective.

  • Do they also serve imitation waffle fries now?

  • I actually thought the McD’s sammich was pretty good, but I’ve only had Chick-fil-A a few times so I don’t have the emotional attachment that others seem to have. :)

  • I’ll try it!
    I was in Florida this past weekend & ate at Chik-Fil-A twice. I prefer the chargrilled over the original. But they were both so tasty and juicy and flavorful. Yum. I even bought one to eat on the plane, HAHA!

  • Don’t even remember what chik-fil-a taste like anymore but I want to try this!

  • tried it. so bland. waste of time.

  • The only Chik-Fil-A experience I’ve ever had was one original sandwich at the Atlanta Airport location… but it was amazingly good. I brought it on my flight. Local Southerners sitting around me were wistful, letting me know that the Airport location just wasn’t as good as the stand alone restaurants. It was still very good.

    I’m going to try one for lunch today, if I see it on the menu at my McD’s on 35th and 8th.

  • Don’t get it. I’ve had Chik-fil-A, and it tasted like typical fast food crap, so why would I try a knock off with so many great food options in New York?

    There must be some romantic appeal to these fast food joints that transplants no longer have access to. After I moved to New York I quickly forgot about all the mediocre food I grew up on.

  • Try the Popeye’s chicken sandwich.

  • We definitely need a Panda Express in midtown.

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