The Popeyes Fried Chicken Sandwich is back. This is what you will find

Popeyes’ Fried Chicken Sandwich that started last summer’s Great Fried Chicken Sandwich War returned on Sunday.

And judging from my experience getting one, the buzz around the sandwich is also back.

Popeyes announced the return of the sandwich last week, in time for National Sandwich Day.

On Friday, I stopped by my local Popeyes near Ann Arbor, Mich., Just to see if he had arrived early.

The signs were in place, but there was no sign of the sandwich.

“Sunday at 10 a.m. sharp,” the counter clerk told me, over the drive-thru intercom. “You better get there early.”

I hadn’t planned to be there at the opening bell, but woke up on time, thanks to the end of daylight saving time. So I put my 91 year old aunt, Maxine Clapper, in my Prius and left.

The scene. We arrived at 9:50 am to find a group of people waiting outside the door and 14 cars in the drive-thru and parking lot. We were car # 11 in the drive-thru.

But at 10 a.m. we were told there was a delay. The restaurant would open at 11 am, despite the instructions given to us and the times posted on the door.

The delay was not explained, but the restaurant then posted “cash only” signs which made me think that maybe it was a credit card processing issue.

The wait. We considered leaving, but decided to stay. Around us, others also remained, including the group at the door. An official finally came out and gave these people numbers so they could go and wait in their cars in the 37 ° F cold.

As the 10 o’clock hour passed, more and more people arrived. The drive-thru line reformed and eventually extended to the side of the restaurant, through the parking lot, past the restaurant, and onto the road outside.

I chatted with a few customers and learned that they weren’t able to get the Popeyes Sandwich when it first appeared (I grabbed one right before it ran out).

They were determined to get one this time. And after the restaurant doors opened at 11 a.m., the first patrons emerged, holding their Popeyes bags high in victory.

It took us about 25 minutes to get to the drive-thru window and collect our sandwiches. We pulled into a parking lot and opened the bag.

The sandwich. This iteration of the Popeyes Fried Chicken Sandwich looks identical to the previous version. For $ 3.99, you get a generous serving of fried chicken breast, a dollop of mayo, two pickles, and a soft bun.

If anything, the chicken was even moister than last time around, maybe because it was cooked in the morning rather than the afternoon.

And the pickles seemed thicker, almost a little too thick for a sandwich. We both removed them from the sandwich and ate them on the side.

As I had already tried it, I was curious to know what Maxine thought about it.

She pronounced it “good,” her universal compliment for something she loves to eat, and said she would still have one if I brought it home to her. (She’s not the eat-in-your-car generation, which is understandable.)

She couldn’t finish her sandwich, which seems a bit big for the appetites of the elderly. Popeyes would do just fine if he made a chicken sandwich slider.

The buzzing. A huge plus of this Popeyes launch, of course, is that it took place on Sunday, when its main rival, Chick-fil-A is shut down, something Popeyes has been touting in his race to return the chicken sandwich.

This Sunday availability is likely to result in a big launch day.

As we were leaving I counted 25 cars waiting in the queue and the parking lot was almost full. I asked the teller how much she thought they would serve, and she estimated it would be over 100.

Based on anticipated demand, they most likely sold them all by the end of lunch hour.

Business might not keep up at this rate, and Popeyes might not get the massive marketing boost that the chicken sandwich generated last time.

But at least for now, he’s pulled off his second shot.

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