North Carolina-based fried chicken fast food chain Bojangles could be on its way to Austin, according to a report from the Austin Business Journal, but it would be up against some steep competition.
The chain announced plans to open up 50 locations across Texas, five of which will target the North Austin area, with the rest spreading across Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. The company said it is looking at locations in Cedar Park, Leander, Round Rock, Pflugerville and Georgetown.
Though Bojangles didn’t disclose any timeline for the opening, the company has plans to expand with more than 100 Texas restaurants in the next seven to 10 years.
Aside from well-known chains like Zaxby’s and Raising Cane’s, Austin already has a good share of homegrown fried chicken restaurants. Here are some of the chicken eateries Bojangles will be up against.
Tumble22 Chicken Joint, 7211 Burnet Road
The Original Chicken Sandwich at Tumble22 (Isabella Lopes)
Sometimes not straying from tradition is the perfect way to execute a classic, and Tumble22's take on a fried chicken sandwich is exactly that. A crispy chicken breast topped with coleslaw, bread-n-butter pickled and duke's mayo on a buttered bun for an ultimate bite of comfort and Southern tradition. The restaurant offers a small and original-sized sandwich and different levels of hotness from a "wimpy" to "stupid hot" scale.
Spicy Boys, 1701 E. 6th St.
The Hot Gai at Spicy Boys (Isabella Lopes)
If you haven't yet visited Spicy Boys, you're missing out on a unique blend of spices and flavor profiles that will have you wanting more. The food truck offers three different sandwich options: "The OG" with basil ranch and papaya relish, sweet chili honey, scallion and crispy shallots; "The Hot Gai" with pickles, massaman mayonnaise, Thai basil and Swiss cheese; and the "V Spicy Gai" with spicy ranch, spicy marinated cucumber on a chili toasted bun.
Thai Fresh, 909 W. Mary St.
The Chicken Sandwich at Thai Fresh (Isabella Lopes)
Besides offering deliciously curated Thai food with seasonal and local ingredients, Thai Fresh has a chicken sandwich that will fill your taste buds with unique flavors for a mouthwatering bite. Topped with lime chili mayo and spicy pickles, this runner-up for the tastiest chicken sandwich in town is not one that should be overlooked.
Dai Due, 2406 Manor Road
The Chicken Sandwich at Dai Due
Dai Due's fried chicken sandwich is no joke. With crispy, double dredged and fried chicken breast, chile morita mayonnaise and pickled watermelon on a bun toasted in ghee, this chicken sandwich will have you thinking "dang," as you devour the entire thing. Don't let the overwhelming uncertainty of flavors make you think this chicken sandwich isn't a winner, because the delicious crispness of the chicken coincides perfectly with everything else.
Lucy's Fried Chicken, multiple locations
The Chicken Sandwich at Lucy's Fried Chicken (Isabella Lopes)
As we previously stated, there's nothing wrong with tradition if it's perfectly executed. Since Lucy's Fried Chicken is known for its fried chicken, it's no surprise their chicken sandwich, made simply with lettuce, onion, tomato and mayo, is a delicious bite of crispy tradition. If you're wanting to opt for something healthier, try their grilled chicken sandwich. If you're wanting to opt for something less healthy, yet equally as tasty, add cheese.
Bird Bird Biscuit, 2701 Manor Road
The Queen Beak at Bird Bird Biscuit (Isabella Lopes)
Besides providing Austinites with delicious buttermilk biscuits, Bird Bird Biscuit has a variety of chicken sandwiches that are out of this world in crispiness and flavor. The Queen Beak, with spiced and breaded chicken, cayenne black pepper honey and bacon-infused chipotle mayo on a buttermilk biscuit is a prime example of what the local joint has to offer. The two other fried chicken sandwich options include the "Firebird," with spiced chicken breast, dill mayo, spicy-sweet pickles and cilantro, and the "Theodore" with spiced chicken breast, bacon, bbq sauce and cheddar cheese.
Little Ola's Biscuits (Olamaie), 1610 San Antonio St.
The Fried Chicken Biscuit at Little Ola's Biscuits (Isabella Lopes)
A little sister to Austin's Southern food spot Olamaie,Little Ola's Biscuits features the beloved flaky biscuits in chicken sandwich form to provide you with an ultimate food craze. The traditional fried chicken sandwich, with Texas honey on a flaky biscuit is the perfect amount of sweet, savory and crispy to indulge all your taste buds. Little Ola's Biscuits also offers a spicy fried chicken biscuit, with spicy cayenne chili-garlic oil and benne seeds on a flaky biscuit.
Project Pollo, 1401 Rosewood Ave.
The Spicy Project at Project Pollo
Plant-based food lovers, Project Pollo is perfect for you. The menu offers four different crispy plant-based chicken sandwiches: the "Original Project" topped with aioli and dill pickles; the "Deluxe," with bacon, lettuce, tomato and smoked Gouda cheese; the "Spicy Project," with spicy garlic buffalo sauce, ranch and a pickled jalapeno; and the "Pico de Pollo," with credo cashew queso and fresh pico de gallo. Whether you're in need of a traditional-tasting chicken sandwich or a more elaborate take on the dish, Project Pollo has you covered.
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Stephanie Ashworth lived in a neighborhood north of Tarrytown, near W. 35th St. and Balcones Drive the summer of 2013. One of her neighbors wanted to move to a different school district and decided to rent out their home on Airbnb upon leaving.
“We’re like—’ok’—we didn’t know any better,” Ashworth said. “And it was awful.”
Ashworth said guests played loud music, used the pool naked and would return from trips at the lake stumbling drunk out of party buses.
“It ruins your peace of mind where you should be able to have it. Where you should be able to feel safe, where the kids should be able to go out front,” Ashworth said. “And we shouldn't find used condoms, empty beer bottles, the trash, the parking, it's so disturbing.”
Ashworth is now head of the Austin chapter of the Texas Neighborhood Coalition, a statewide group that assists people looking to restrict and regulate short-term rentals in their residential neighborhoods. She talked to Austonia following Airbnb’s announcement this week that it will deploy new anti-party technology in the US and Canada.
The initiative aims to prevent potentially high-risk reservations by being a more robust version of the “under 25” system, which reviews guests under the age of 25 without positive reviews who are booking locally. A similar variation of this system has been piloted in Australia since October 2021 and has resulted in a 35% drop in incidents of unauthorized parties in pilot areas.
Airbnb is hoping for similar success in other regions but noted that there could still be some hiccups once the system is in effect.
“While we are optimistic that this technology will have a positive impact for the safety of our community and our goal to reduce unauthorized parties—we want to be clear that no system is perfect,” Airbnb wrote in a statement announcing the new tech. “We work hard to deter bad actors from using our platform, but ultimately Airbnb is an online platform that facilitates real world connections.”
For Ashworth, this system falls short of what she’d like to see from the company and she’d like for them to be clearer about what constitutes a party in the company’s eyes.
“So I have no doubt that this technology they're touting for the party houses is nonsense,” Ashworth said. “They are not a company that's run with integrity, they're not a good corporate citizen.”
But people will continue to flock to Airbnb as Austin continues to be a major tourist destination with festivals like Austin City Limits and South by Southwest drawing in thousands. Even on a regular weekend pandemic recovery has been in full swing with downtown entertainment districts seeing visits close to 2019 levels.
Ultimately, Ashworth sees room to accommodate tourists while ensuring neighborhoods remain homey for Austinites.
“My personal opinion is the home team comes first,” Ashworth said. “The whole city doesn't need to be turned over to the tourist industry and areas that are zoned residentially should remain for residents. I do understand that we are a tourist destination. But you can have a short-term rental pretty much anywhere in the city except in residential zones.”
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