Why the hell are y’all still eating at Chick-fil-A? Thanks to you, the good Christians there have built the company into the nation’s third-largest restaurant chain, meaning it has even more dollars to contribute to anti-LGBTQ causes. Hell, even Kanye West’s new album, “Jesus is King,” includes a cut entitled, “Closed on Sunday.” Its lyrics pay lucrative homage to the chain, which boasts about its being closed every Sunday. “Closed on Sunday, you my Chick-fil-A…Get your family, y’all hold hands and pray,” Kanye says.
Happily, Popeyes has brought its chicken sandwich back with a video ad that hilariously parodies Chick-fil-A’s sanctimonious Sundays. The sandwich returned a day before I wrote this, so I haven’t tried it yet, but I’d like to suggest two tasty alternatives.
Zunzi’s: This Savannah-based restaurant caused South Buckhead ladies to clutch their pearls and gasp when it opened here last year. The problem was the restaurant’s motto, “Shit Yea!” It’s meant to suggest something like “Shit yeah, this sandwich rocks. I’m never going to Chick-fil-A again. Shit yeah!” The restaurant owner pulled back from the loud promotion of the motto, but it remains, tucked far enough away that it won’t traumatize precious children. People Magazine named the Savannah location’s Conquistador sandwich the best in Georgia. So, that’s what I tried during a recent visit. The sandwich seems prosaic at first. It’s baked chicken, Romaine lettuce, and tomatoes tucked into a French baguette. What gives the sandwich its fame is its mysteriously delicious sauce, naturally named Shit Yeah Sauce. I have to admit that a sandwich whose sauce suggests fecal content is not very appealing on the surface, but it was quite good. We also tried the Godfather, a much more complex sandwich with the same sauce, sausages, chicken, cheese, lettuce, and more. It also weirdly includes a marinara sauce, which is a clue to the over-arching theme here. Zunzi’s is inspired by the cuisine of South Africa, which borrowed flavors from its many Italian immigrants. Finally, I want to note Zunzi’s promotion of South Africa’s Ubuntu philosophy, which gives primacy to humanity’s bonding, not god. That’s so un-Chick-Fil-a. (1971 Howell Mill Rd., 470-698-2351, www.zunzis.com)
PONKO: This fun, weird little place has four locations, including one in Midtown. I recently visited the new one on Roswell Road. Like the others, it specializes in fried chicken, but it substitutes panko – bread crumbs – for the flour we use here in the Southland. Panko is popular in Japan and the owners are two Asian-American women. You can get your chicken mainly in the form of tenders stuffed into sandwiches and tacos or strewn across a salad bowl. There is one chicken breast sandwich and that’s what I ordered. You get a choice of sweet, spicy, or barbecue sauces. I went for the spicy and while the sandwich was crunchy-delicious, it was barely spicy to me. It had more sweetness about it, bolstered by my side of sweet potato fries. My friend swallowed a salad and sang its praises while he chewed the last bite of a tender. I love the way dining is rapidly becoming fully cross-cultural in America. Ponko adds a sweet bit of Satanic fire that offsets the almighty who allegedly resides at Chick-fil-A.
1971 Howell Mill Rd.
4279 Roswell Rd.
locations also in Midtown and Chamblee