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The Weekender: Chicken Tenders

The Weekender: Chicken Tenders

Alyson Strickler-Vazquez

It is essential to be a well-rounded person; you should be as comfortable ordering a plate of fried chicken tenders as you are filet mignon. I eat like a toddler or a hypercritical foodie, it genuinely depends on the day. Chicken tenders are the ultimate guilty pleasure: fried, well-seasoned, dunkable, and sometimes just a vehicle to eat sauce (no shame here). My go-to restaurants for chicken tenders conveniently handle their tenders differently, so my pick depends on the day.  

Pat & Gracie’s has two locations slinging chicken tenders- downtown and Graceland Shopping Center. Pat’s Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders are soaked in buttermilk and dredged in a flour and cornstarch seasoning that lightly coats the tenders and creates little crispity crunchies that cling to the edges. The breading adds flavor but is thin enough that you can still see the grain of the chicken. The house-made dipping sauces include a must-have buffalo, smokey BBQ, and tangy honey mustard. These tenders are served with skin-on hand-cut fries (just like those at the Fair), and I suggest asking for them extra crispy.  


Preston’s: A Burger Joint has a restaurant inside a restaurant with their Honey’s Fried Chicken & Biscuits concept. If you want a quick trip south of the Mason-Dixon Line, Honey’s Tenders pack a punch of Southern flavor. The thick batter is incredible and lends itself to a crispy breading, heavily seasoned, with ample notes of black pepper. Don’t forget to dip- Honey’s offers up some of the tastiest sauces in town, Carolina Dip, Chery Cola BBQ, Comeback, and Green Goddess. The Cherry Cola BBQ has hints of sweetness, and the Carolina Dip has a vinegar tang that you would expect from anything with Carolina in the name.  Did I mention DoorDash delivers!

Must Have: Crispy Pimento Cheese Dumplings- a true flavor bomb  

The Cheesecake Factory may be a chain restaurant, but their Chicken Littles are prepared from scratch and are served with my favorite sauce in town. These I refer to as the Goldilocks chicken tenders because the breading is not too thick, not too thin, … just right. Factory uses hefty chicken pieces that are dipped in buttermilk and into a seasoned flour dredge before frying. Now for the pièce de resistance, the honey mustard sauce is sweet and tangy with fresh pieces of parsley and a heavy dose of honey. One of the best parts is that the leftovers will feed you for days!

In the know: Did you know The Cheesecake Factory has cheesecake… yeah me too.

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