Tale of the Tape: Federal Donuts Versus Shake Shack

With today’s announcement of the Chick’N Shack going national, we knew we’d have to put the Shake Shack fried chicken sandwich up against Federal Donuts’ version. So that’s what we did, bolstered by the knowledge that there was no crazy line at Shake Shack, newest Fooboozer, Kelly Alderfer and I headed first to Federal Donuts at 1632 Sansom Street and then up the block to the Shake Shack at 20th and Sansom.

As for the verdict to which fried chicken sandwich was better, read on …

Photo by Liz Clayman

Photo by Liz Clayman

Shake Shack Chick’n Shack

Chicken: Cage-free chicken breast—no hormones or antibiotics

Coating: Slow-cooked in buttermilk marinade, then hand-dipped into batter and dredged through seasoned flour, then fried.

Sauce: Buttermilk herb mayo made with chives, parsley and thyme.

Toppings: Shredded lettuce, pickle chips.

Roll: Grilled potato roll.

Price: $6.29

Federal Donuts Fried Chicken Sandwich

Chicken: Breast of Coleman Natural Chicken, chickens are fed all-vegetarian diet and receive no antibiotics or hormones.

Coating: Like the bone-in chicken, the breasts are brined, battered and fried twice, then dusted with buttermilk ranch seasoning.

Sauce: Spicy rooster sauce, a mayo sauce with a mixture of hot peppers..

Toppings: American cheese, dill pickle chips.

Roll: Martin’s potato roll.

Price: $6.75

The Verdict

The Federal Donuts Fried Chicken Sandwich was the winner of our showdown. The twice fried crust at FedNuts stuck better to the chicken than the coating at Shake Shack. Both chicken breasts were flavorful from their buttermilk and herb baths but the Rooster sauce at FedNuts added an integrated kick to the sandwich. At Shake Shack they’ve begun offering official Louisiana Hot Sauce in order to kick up the heat for the chicken sandwich but dipping the chicken in the hot sauce created a less nuanced flavor than what the hometown guys have come up with. One place where the Shake Shack Chick’n Shack stood out though was the roll. Shake Shack shows nice attention to detail by grilling the potato bread roll. Of course Federal Donuts doesn’t have a grill station where they can recreate that nicety.

The prices are practically the same but when we think fried chicken sandwich, we’ll head to Federal Donuts. But don’t feel too badly Shake Shack, you’re still our go to burger.

Federal Donuts [Official]
Shake Shack [Official]