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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The colorful little robots roaming the streets of Austin, delivering burritos and fried chicken, are likely not going anywhere soon. If anything, this might only be the beginning of the era of robotic delivery.
At least that was the sentiment at the City Council Mobility Committee meeting Thursday when the Transportation Department gave a presentation on the future of personal delivery devices, or PDDs, in the city and outlined the rules they must follow.
PDDs are defined as automated devices operating in pedestrian areas, like sidewalks, or on the shoulders, such as bike lanes. They are currently piloted by employees with a 360-degree view of the road via the cameras built into the machine. Think remote-controlled car but bigger.
PDDs were first seen in Austin in July 2016. In 2019, Senate Bill 969 went into effect, enacting statewide regulations for the robot delivery drivers. The robots aren’t permitted to exceed a speed limit of 10 miles per hour on a sidewalk and 20 miles per hour on a shoulder of a road, according to Texas code. They must have a braking system, front and rear lights if operating at night, and must display the operating company’s information on the device.
“I just see (the delivery robots) as a pretty effective way to get people some of the things that they need in a timely manner. And from everything that I can tell, it’s pretty safe,” Council Member Mackenzie Kelly said.
Currently, only two companies, Coco and Refraction AI, are using PPDs in Austin, but other PDDs on Austin streets or even in the air are on the horizon. One delivery robot, developed by Ford, takes parcels from trucks to customers’ doors, and Uber and Amazon Prime are preparing to deploy – or have deployed – drone-like devices.
“These are not currently in Austin, but these are things that have been developed and are operating in various parts of the world,” said Jacob Culberson, division manager of mobility for the Transportation Department.
Transportation has partnered with Coco and Refraction AI to ensure they are operating in compliance with state rules. The department is currently working with the companies to create best-practice guidelines, with rules such as prohibiting the use of parkland or avoiding state Capitol grounds.
“We think that transportation is important from the standpoint of getting things places more efficiently and more sustainably,” said Luke Schneider, CEO of Refraction AI.
Though the reception was mostly positive, Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison raised concerns that automating delivery services could take jobs away from people who might deliver items by bike, car or foot.
“Is there some sort of counterbalance for the workforce when we start to automate?” Harper-Madison asked.
“We are hiring, and we are hiring fast. We have plenty of places for these people to work who would ever be displaced by such a thing,” Schneider said.
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