Consider the chicken sandwich, which, in its most ideal form, consists of a thickly battered-then-fried chicken breast brilliantly placed between two pieces of bread. Atlanta’s Chick-fil-A claims to have invented the chicken sandwich and rules the roost in the chicken sammich fast food category with $6 billion in annual sales from nearly 1,900 stores.
Austin’s Kevin Warden, who’s opened more than 80 Which Which sandwich shops across Texas, noticed the lack of competition in the chicken sandwich market and decided to strut into the farmyard with Flyrite, his fast-casual answer to Chick-fil-A. Comfortably nested between the Poodle Dog and Barley Swine and sporting an enormous origami chicken wing facade, his second Flyrite recently hatched in the neighborhood at 6539 Burnet Road.
Flyrite is, by my eyes and taste buds, a cup of Chick-fil-A, a tablespoon of Chipotle (sans the norovirus), and three delightful squirts of Googie from P.Terry’s resulting in chef’d up sandwiches served inside George Jetson’s chicken coop. Unlike most fast food joints, Flyrite uses all-natural chicken and fresh ingredients. The sandwiches come in a variety of styles with the standard fried chicken breast, a grilled option, and fancy chef-designed spectacles.
My first pip into Flyrite was the Standard, a basic crispy chicken sandwich, which I ordered and picked up through the drive through. Unfortunately, due to crosstalk on the squawk box, my sammich didn’t come adorned with the lettuce and tomato I ordered. And being a spring chicken, I was confused by the term “pickle chips”, assuming that meant tater chips cut like pickles instead of the sliced pickles I got. Maybe I was brooding due to the lack of vegetables in my order, but I found the plucked sammich merely OK, giving it a meh-minus.
Where Flyrite catches wing is with their Craft sandwiches where the chefs lit up the barnyard with toppings and specialty sauces. The Crafts include the Spring Chicken (grilled, lettuce, carrots, cucumber, and cucumber yogurt sauce), the Cowboy (spicy crispy, bacon, cheddar, fresh jalapenos, and hoss sauce), and the Club 512 (crispy, bacon, lettuce, tomato, pepper jack, and avocado salsa). Available as a sandwich topper and for fry dipping, the avocado salsa rules the roost with rich flavor and a solid back spur of spicy. And be forewarned: those fresh jalapenos will blissfully raise your hackles.
If you want to avoid the wattles (and eat healthier) or are simply not into yard fowl, there are rice paper wraps with and without bird as well as salads and kale slaw (essentially coleslaw with whisps of kale). Flyrite also offers gluten-free and vegan options. For the wee biddy biters there are chicken tenders and juice pouches. For the over-21s there is beer and wine, including several locals on tap. You can even snag a six-pack or a growler for the road. Flyrite also offers competent breakfast tacos starting at 7 am including the Chicken and Waffle taco, a chicken tender wrapped with a waffle “tortilla”.
Warden designed Flyrite to cater to the drive-through customer, but he also provides a clean and modern dine-in experience. Parking, unfortunately, is limited, so be prepared to park down the street and strut back to the coop during peak hours.
Flyrite requires more scratch that Chick-fil-A (the Standard starts at $4.99 and the Cowboy ropes in at $7.49), but you are buying higher quality ingredients from a local vendor. Based on the gaggles of people flocking to their shop, our fledgling Flyrite has quickly taken wing. And although Flyrite has a ways to go to reach the top of the chicken sandwich pecking order, count me in as one of the roosters crossing the road to egg them on!
web&where: interwebs; various; menus
what’s the deal? Chef’d up chicken sammiches with beer (and without homophobia); counter service
overall: ** (food**; drink*; atmosphere**; service*; instagrammability*)
does it scramble? Yes!
– meh [think twice]
* OK [it’ll get the job done]
** good [solid neighborhood joint]
*** damn good [we’ll definitely be back]
**** yippity-yikes that was amazeballs [fantastic; one of the best]
***** holy sh!t [transcendental; best of the best]
I wrote this review for the Allandale Neighbor