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The Bird Is The Word

Surveying Aspen's Chicken Sandwich Scene for Aspen Magazine

The cheeseburger is facing a new challenger for sandwich superiority in Aspen. Beef patties, cheese and complementary condiments are an American institution, but fried chicken has been finding its way between more buns—and onto more menus—all across the country. And just the like the cheeseburger’s elevated status from comfort food to culinary masterpiece, the base ingredient for these sammies is the same—crispy fried chicken—but it’s the unique spin that each of these restaurants has instituted that’s made the chicken sandwich trend take flight.

Chef C. Barclay Dodge traveled the world seeking flavor inspiration for the menu at Bosq (312 S. Mill St., His Fiery Chicken Sandwich, available on the lunch menu, is a cultural-culinary mashup influenced by both East Asia and the Southeastern United States. Its namesake heat is derived from gochujang—a sweet and spicy chile paste that is a backbone of Korean cooking; the sole topping, sweet pickles, is a nod to Chick-fil-A, the Georgia fast-food juggernaut.

HOPS Culture’s (414 E. Hyman Ave., Nashville Hot Chicken pays homage to another regional variation of this Southern staple. The signature dish of Tennessee’s capital city is fried chicken dipped in a cayenne pepper-based sauce and served with slices of white bread and pickles. HOPS’ sandwich version upgrades to a brioche bun and adds slaw to cut some of the spice. The restaurant also serves plenty of beer to further douse the flames.

Spicy maple syrup, candied bacon and chipotle hollandaise sauce join forces to steer Home Team BBQ’s (38750 Highway 82, Fried Chicken Sandwich toward breakfast, a welcome move. Showcasing fried chicken’s ability to carry both spicy and sweet, this sandwich is only available on the weekend brunch menu, which is probably a good thing, as executive chef Taylor Garrigan’s nap-inducing delicacy would single-handedly reduce Aspen’s productivity if it were served during the workweek.

On a menu that features mostly sandwiches and salads—all of which are consistently excellent—the Crispy Chicken Sandwich at White House Tavern (302 E. Hopkins Ave., is a standout. Topped with Swiss cheese, spicy slaw and tomato on a buttery housemade torta, this large sandwich is cut into thirds. Pros eat two sections for dinner and save the last for breakfast, a practice which is perfectly acceptable.

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