May 21, 2024 - Food and Drink

We tried Dave's Not Chicken and you should too

A menu board showing "not chicken" options.

"Not chicken" cauliflower-based options are on the menu at Dave's Hot Chicken. Photo: Jessica Boehm/Axios

You probably know Dave's for hot chicken, but the L.A.-based chain is now leaning into not chicken, aka breaded cauliflower meant to emulate the crispy fried meat they're known for.

The big picture: Dave's Hot Chicken started switching up its branding last year to "Dave's NOT Chicken" to celebrate its new meatless options at certain locations.

  • Among the veggie options now available at the Gilbert and north Phoenix locations are cauli-sliders and cauli-tenders.

State of play: My husband is a vegetarian who had the good fortune of trying the Chick-fil-A Cauliflower Sandwich during its limited release in Denver last year. He loved it and has been wishing for something similar to come to Phoenix ever since.

  • Enter Dave's.

What to try: We got a few of the cauli-sliders, but that was a bit of a misnomer because they were the size of a large sandwich.

  • I am a meat-eater, so I expected the faux-chicken to leave me craving something heartier, but I was happy to be proved wrong.

Best bites: Unlike the mushy cauliflower I remember from school lunch days, the Dave's sliders stayed thick and dense after deep-frying.

  • The breading was well-seasoned, extra crispy and drizzled with a smoky sauce.
  • I felt less sluggish than I typically do after eating fast food. (Cauliflower is a health food even if it's fried, right?)
A fried sandwich with french fries.
The cauli-slider was more full-size than slider-size, but I wasn't complaining. Photo: Jessica Boehm/Axios
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