Grilled-chicken sandwiches have surpassed burgers as the most-commonly menued sandwich at commercial operations. But ubiquity makes creativity even more important.
This article first appeared in the 1 March 2008 issue of Restaurants & Institutions (R&I).
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By Kate Leahy, Senior Associate Editor
Chicken Parmigiana Press (pictured above)
Sodexho USA, multiple locations. Part of the Gaithersburg, Md.-based contractor's Four Seasons of Flavor corporate-dining series last fall, the sandwich updates familiar chicken-Parmesan flavors. Flatbread is topped with a crispy chicken cutlet, basil, mozzarella and Roma tomatoes and then grilled in a panini press. Marinara sauce is served on the side for dipping.
Free Range Chicken Sandwich
Blackhawk Grille, Danville, Calif. The timing was just right when Chef Ryan Jackson put a comfort-driven, Thanksgiving-inspired sandwich on the menu in January; it already has become the restaurant's top-selling sandwich. Grilled chicken, bacon, thyme aïoli, melted triple-crème cheese, spinach and cranberry sauce are layered between slices of toasted ciabatta.
Smothered Chicken Sandwich
Rockfish Seafood Grill, multiple locations. For this popular lunchtime sandwich, the Richardson, Texas-based chain spices up a chicken breast with a blackening rub and tops it with Jack and Cheddar cheeses, sautéed mushrooms, peppers and onions. The sandwich is served on a hoagie roll with a side of waffle fries and apple-cider slaw.
Chicken Margarita Panini
Green Leaf's, multiple locations. Morristown, N.J.-based Villa Enterprises, which owns Grean Leaf's, wanted to introduce a warm sandwich in the winter. The grilled panini meets that goal, although the sandwich's ingredients reflect sunnier times. Slices of rustic Italian bread hold grilled chicken paired with Parmesan, sun-dried tomato, basil and basil aïoli.