Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


We need some more chicken

We took an in-depth view at the best options for chicken tenders around town and rated them on our highly technical meal rubric.
We need some more chicken

My one and true love, chicken tenders. From the age 3, the chicken has always been there for me. After every major event that happens, I make a pit stop at TGI Friday’s and get chicken tenders and fries. I owe all my happiness to the magnificent and beautiful minded Charlie Pappas, the inventor of the tender in 1974. He masterfully crafted the tender from salvage pieces of chicken that were being thrown away. This innovative and creative engineering has revolutionized the culinary arts.

In order to display our appreciation for the classic American delicacy, we decided to review the best chicken tenders in the Charleston Area. We listed some of our favorite places, and we went to each one, ordered a standard combo of 4 tenders, fries and a drink.

Rating Criteria

We have determined the most important qualities in order to distinguish the quality of a Chicken Tender meal. We will score 1-10 on each of the following criteria to find a mean score for the meal. When conducting this field test we followed Dave Portnoy’s famous criteria “one bite, everyone knows the rules.” Dave has been one of the hottest names in food review in recent years, so we decided to walk in the footsteps of greatness.  For both the tenders and fries, we will take one bite plain and one bite with the signature sauce.

  1. Flavor: An obvious necessity for our criteria, the taste of the chicken and breading transfuses to create unique flavor.
  2. Crispness: A key factor into the taste and mouthfeel of a tender. A solid golden crisp is an important quality for tenders to have.
  3. Sauce: A signature dipping sauce is a necessity for every chicken tender spot. No tender meal is truly full without a sauce to dip.
  4. Fries: This is the sidekick to the tender, the Robin to Batman, a necessity for an elite meal. Nothing dampens my day like soggy fries.
  5. Value: Price is for sure a factor anytime you’re ordering food.

Raising Cane’s – Mount Pleasant

Cane’s is seen as a top dog in the chicken tender scene, a rising star in the game, if you will. Despite only arriving into the mainstream in the past 10 years, it is for sure a fan favorite. The drive-thru line spilling into the street speaks for itself.

Isaac: You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray, you’ll never know dear how much I love you… Flavor and soggy fries is the only thing that Canes could develop to make their food even better. Nonetheless, the extraordinary Canes sauce makes up for all its other flaws. The price is standard with the other options on this list, further elevating its value as there is such a gap in the food quality and dining experience. 9.5/10.

Wyatt: I get the hype more than CFA but still not anything mind blowing. Good chicken, good sauce, but please for the love of God do something with the fries. They lack seasoning and are soggy everytime due to the styrofoam box. Another plus is the ice. For someone who enjoys to eat ice, this is a score changer. I will also give them credit for keeping the price under control, a 3 piece meal comes in under 10 dollars, a rare deal. Cane’s gets an 8.

Combined Score: 8.75/10

Chick Fil A – South Mount Pleasant

What can we say about Chick-fil-a? It is possibly the most well known fast-food restaurant in recent times, with exceptional customer service and a well processed focus on strictly chicken entrees. However, it was recently released that the company has changed from its signature chicken, that of which may have altered its historic greatness.

Isaac: You already know what you’re getting from Chick-fil-a. Sadly, I was correct about the change in formula. The quality is no longer the same and it has a new distinct flavor that I am not a fan of. There is little to no crispiness. I personally do not like the sauce but I have only heard others speak about how much they love it so I will let it slide. The waffle fries are a staple of the fast food community and are carrying their rating. The prices are also getting on the larger end of the scale, disappointing. 7.5/10.

Wyatt: Chick-Fil-A is consistent yet mid, to me. I like some of the specialty items they serve but something as basic as tenders will be underwhelming. The flavor of these tenders are almost completely reliant on the dipping sauce. I am not a huge fan of the fries either. I guess customer service is a plus but doesn’t really do too much for me. America’s favorite only grabs a 4/10 from me.

Combined Score: 5.75/10

Huey Magoo’s – Tanger

This is a more underground spot, just recently opening in Tanger in the last two years; the first Charleston location. Their claim for superiority is that they use the “Filet Mignon” of chicken. We shall see if the high quality in chicken pays dividends in the rankings.

Isaac: This is good food. I have had Huey’s one other time and they have been pleasant and enjoyable experiences both times. Most definitely the most flavorful, there is no doubt in my mind that this chicken can put up a fight for the number one spot. Despite crispiness not being the strongest aspect of the chicken, it does not hinder the experience enough to make it fall any in my rankings. Of the sauce we have tasted over this poulet praising process, this would rank second best for me. These are no doubt the best fries available at any of the food establishments that are listed here today. Of the options available, it is fairly priced. 9/10.

Wyatt: This place is the epitome of class in the tender game. Their claim to use the Filet Mignon of chicken is noticeable in the juice and flavor present in every bite. The crisp and flavor in the breading is for sure. Sauce is great here, think of a spicier and tangier Cane’s sauce. I’m not normally a fan of crinkle cut fries but the seasoning on the fries for sure elevates this side. Huey is gonna grab a 9.5 on my scale.

Combined Score: 9.25/10

Zaxby’s – Tanger

Zaxby’s, a southern staple, often seems overlooked in the chicken game. The place prides their brand on the signature Zax Sauce, a favorite of ours. A claim from the company website says “we start with high-quality ingredients like 100% whole white-meat chicken.” We will see if we can taste the difference at the big Z. Also don’t sleep on their cookies.

Isaac: Once again, the chicken hurt my stomach. The flavor and crispiness was better than most of the other chicken we tried, however the fries and toast were incredibly soggy. I was not a fan of the sauce either. Overall, I would say the value is relatively fair at $12.20 for a four tender combo. Mid. 6/10

Wyatt: Good stuff here, I can taste the quality. Great flavor profile and generous portions. I ate the toast and fries before Isaac so they weren’t soggy for me. I would like to comment that the foam box traps too much steam and causes the fries to be soggy. I also enjoy the addition of coleslaw to the meal, a nice balancing touch to relieve the carb heavy meal. Great chicken, great sauce, good score. Zaxbys gets a 7.5 from me.

Combined Score: 6.75/10

Bojangles – North Charleston.

I am going to be completely honest, we did not even go. We already know what to expect from such a horrid establishment. I have one 4 minutes from my house and I quite literally never go. While I love their original biscuits, the customer service makes me wish the company goes out of service. If they can somehow do an overhaul of their entire staff and higher, more strict and accountable management, I might consider bringing my business to such a rancid establishment. 0/10.

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