Feb 24, 2021 - News
The 5 best chicken sandwiches in Des Moines
A fried chicken sandwich from Angry Goldfish in Des Moines
A fried chicken sandwich from Angry Goldfish in Des Moines. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

McDonald's is entering the chicken sandwich wars today, but I was wondering — what is the best *local* sandwich?

  • My first job was at Chick-fil-A in WDM, so you can trust my taste.

My methodology:

  1. Ask DSM Dining Discoveries for recommendations.
  2. Drive around town eating five chicken sandwiches in three hours.
  3. 🌸 Drown in Pepto-Bismol.

Here are my top five picks in alphabetical order:

Angry Goldfish:

In my first bite, there was a rewarding “crunch.” (We’re in it for the *fried* part, right?)

  • Beyond the patty, I liked the thick-cut veggies, especially the red onions.

Price: $11 w/a side.

Address: 2301 Southwest 9th St., Des Moines; 515-288-2358

Bubba
A fried chicken sandwich from Bubba in Des Moines.
A fried chicken sandwich from Bubba in Des Moines. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

Downtown's southern-style restaurant has everything you're looking for: crispy breading, high-quality white meat, fresh veggies.

  • The honey hot sauce and pillow-y South Union Bakery buns were highlights.

Price: $11 w/a side.

Address: 200 10th St., Des Moines; 515-257-4744

Charlotte's Kitchen
The original chicken sandwich from Charlotte's Kitchen in Johnston.
The original chicken sandwich from Charlotte's Kitchen in Johnston. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

The original chicken sandwich from the food truck-turned restaurant is the ideal all-around sandwich.

  • The breading is crispy, the chicken — juicy. It's thick, but not overwhelming. The zesty mayo-like sauce adds just enough zing to compliment the chicken-flavor.

Price: $7.23 w/a pop.

Address: 6150 Merle Hay Rd, Johnston

Exile
The Nashville Fried Chicken Sandwich from Exile in Des Moines.
The Nashville Fried Chicken Sandwich from Exile in Des Moines. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

The Nashville Fried Chicken Sandwich offers just enough spice for a satisfying mouth kick.

  • The creamy, spicy slaw mellows out the hot sauce, while the toasted pretzel bun adds a great crust and texture.

Price: $14 w/a side.

Address: 1514 Walnut St., Des Moines; 515-883-2337

The Station on Ingersoll
A fried chicken sandwich from The Station on Ingersoll.
A fried chicken sandwich from The Station on Ingersoll. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

The crispy chicken sandwich is big. It's a flatter, crispy chicken patty that packs a lot of smokey flavor in the breading.

  • Bring your appetite. The patty is so big, it hides the veggies.

Price: $10.50 w/fries.

Address: 3124 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines; (515) 381-0052

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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