The Las Vegas Valley’s third and most prominent Chick-fil-A store opened about a month ago on Sahara Avenue just off I-15, and unsurprisingly, it’s been packed. The fast-food hype is real. But our city was full of fantastic fried-chicken sandwich options before the famed franchise finally arrived, from casual-cool restaurants on the Strip to neighborhood favorites doing it right. If you don’t want to wait in those long lines—or if you just know better—allow these five sandwich substitutes to satiate your bird-on-bun cravings.
1. Secret Sunday Chicken at Carson Kitchen ($13) The perfect pillowy bun and those spicy pickles really set it off, but it’s the masterful presentation of the bird—so juicy and crisp—that makes all the difference. This sandwich is far from a secret, and you can order it all week long, but its deliciousness is special enough to merit the name. 124 S. 6th St. #100, 702-473-9523.
2. Crunchy Yardbird Sandwich at Yardbird ($14) The beautifully Southern crispy chicken biscuits with pepper jelly are a snack fave at the Strip’s unofficial fried-chicken headquarters, but this full-size, fully-crunchable meal on a roll is where it’s at, thanks to a big slab of bird, plenty of hot sauce, house-made pickles and guilty pleasure buttermilk ranch dressing. Venetian, 702-297-6541.
3. Biloxi Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich at Honey Salt ($14) Now that’s an impressively piled sandwich: creamy coleslaw, the kitchen’s own version of classic Durkee dressing and a thick, crispy chicken breast stacked on a soft brioche bun. It looks great and tastes better, a bit of tangy sweetness contrasting the savory bits of lightly breaded bliss. 1031 S. Rampart Blvd., 702-445-6100.
4. Chick Fil-huh? at the Goodwich ($9) The friendly Downtown ’wich hub has a little fun at the franchise’s expense with this recurring special, which plays on the simplicity of the fast-food version and swaps in a brioche bun for the local shop’s standard toasty-bread goodness. Pepper jack cheese and “awesome soss” bring bonus flavors. 900 Las Vegas Blvd. S. #120, 702-910-8681.
5. Spicy Chicken Sandwich at Momofuku ($11) This is not David Chang’s Fuku fried-chicken sandwich. Instead, Vegas gets an exclusive version—crispy bird glazed in a deep, fiery chili sauce with cucumbers and iceberg lettuce and a potato roll. It’s only available on the late-night menu from 11 p.m. till 2 a.m (and it tastes best at 1:35 a.m.). Cosmopolitan, 702-698-2663.