I’ve been curious about this new place ever since I heard about it on the radio. Chicken Salad Chick originated in Auburn, but I missed my chance to try it when I was a college student. It’s been absolutely swamped since it opened, so I waited a week or so after opening day, then tried my luck for a late lunch one Monday.
When I walked in, I was greeted by the franchise owner, Terry Calcote. There was no mistaking the voice I heard on the radio. She was personally greeting each person, busing tables and thanking everyone for stopping by. The atmosphere is open and cheerful. There’s a lot more room than I had expected, with large tables, booths and even mini booths. The staff at the counter was friendly and helpful and more than happy to offer samples of the wide variety of chicken salad that is available. I suggest you sample.
The basic formula is the Classic Carol. For chicken salad enthusiasts, this “secret” recipe, posted on their webpage and proclaimed on the radio ads includes “barely enough mayo to cover a lotta chicken, a ½ cup of everything your Mama taught you in the kitchen, 1 cup of love for the people you are serving and a dash of Southern style.”
From this, all other varieties are created. They range from the sweet Luau Lydia (mixed with pineapple and macadamia nuts) to the spicy Jazzy Julie (with cayenne pepper, bacon and shredded cheddar cheese). All in all, there are fifteen different varieties of chicken salad to try. Did I mention they are more than happy to dole out samples? Do yourself a favor: sample all of them! Yum!
Not a chicken salad fan? Caving under the pressure of so many varieties? No need to fret or hide your face in shame! Chicken Salad Chick offers fresh Pimento cheese, as well as meat sandwiches that include oven roasted turkey, Cajun roast beef, and Virginia ham. Sides include broccoli salad, grape salad, pasta salad, fresh fruit and potato chips. There is also a soup of the day and a cookie of the day, too!
Chicken Salad Chick also offers great catering services.
Meal options range in price, from a cup of soup and half sandwich for $5.89 to $8.79 for the Chick trio, which is your pick of any three chicken salads or side items served on a bed of lettuce, accompanied by a pickle spear and wheat crackers. Beverages are an additional charge. You can also purchase the salads by the pound for $9.99 and sides by the pound for $7.59 to take home for the game or holiday gatherings. (Why..YES! I DID make this broccoli salad!) Catering is also available. You can also order by phone or fax. Forms are also available online.
My lunch came in under $10, which included a drink, sandwich, side and pickle spear. I was treated to a clean, friendly atmosphere and though it was busy it was not overwhelming and I was able to find a seat and enjoy my lunch.
But Will the Kids Eat It?
I was on my lunch break, but saw a few families there. One thing I noticed right away is that there is no kids menu. I surreptitiously checked out the table with two school-aged children and one toddler. It appeared that the family had ordered the Trio plate and a couple of sides. The toddler was blissfully stuffing the grape salad into his mouth, making happy gurgling noises that come with the best, most delicious and messy food items as we parents all recognize. I didn’t go full stalker and bother the family, but I believe the grapes were whole, and they had pasta salad, too. There were no complaints about the cookies, either! Some meals come with a cookie. If they do not, they are available for $0.99 each.
Next stop: restrooms. This is a new place, so they are clean. There are two marked “Chicks” and one marked “Chick Magnet.” I was a little disappointed, given how busy this place was, that they were single person bathrooms, totally three in number. They were spacious, and offered changing tables as well as frames, kitschy art to put life into perspective as you wipe a baby’s bottom.
Would I bring my family? Sure. I don’t believe there ALWAYS has to be a kids menu. My child, who is about to turn five, can share a plate with her parents. We try to introduce new foods to her, and not all restaurants offer menu options for children, and when they do it can be generic staples like nuggets, pizza, burgers, etc. While this can be a lifesaver at times, we also like to get her to try ethnic/international foods and be a little bit adventurous. It may be pricier if you order individually, but the food is tasty!
Date visited: September 29, 2014
Address: 975 Airport Road, Huntsville (map)
Phone: (256) 213-1067
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10am to 6pm
Mandy Pinyan has been a passionate book lover from an early age, where being busted for bringing Stephen King to school (a book, not the guy) led to much reading by flashlight. She turned out okay. She is the Youth Services Coordinator and Manager of Outreach Services at the Huntsville Madison County Public Library Extension and Outreach Department, where she can be seen driving a Rainbow Van or a Bookmobile in between gigs. Mom to a tween, Adelyn and wife to a ruggedly handsome outdoorsman with an obsession with planting bamboo, Mandy finds enjoyment in painting, gardening and geeking out over various pop culture. A small menagerie of pets - dachshunds Matt Damon and Angel, kitty BB and Boston-Chihuahua-chupacabra mix Bailey just make the chaos complete.