I am not a man who often goes wanting. My rotund figure and near endless appetite portend the fact that I have strong opinions about fast food, of which i’m often reliant on, as I’m sloth to eat my own food, even as i’ve cooked it. There are very few people on earth who were as ready for the great Chicken Wars as I was. The opening shots were fired, as all things are, on Twitter. The term “woke” was ruined through social media by conglomerate brands trying to be cool by turning their 140 characters of brand awareness over to jaded millenials, fresh off their graduation from Arizona State. The term was then co-opted by Tucker Carlson and his ilk, and now woke means “anyone that doesn’t get a throbbing erection at the sight of the flag.”
But I digress, as the only thing that that brings myself joy to the point of an unrequited pants skyscraper is a damn fine chicken sandwich.
A few years ago I took my wife on a weekend getaway in Michigan wine country for her birthday. We stopped in the Dollar General located in the town of Bridgman for a few snacks between wineries. While waiting to check out, a man pointed to a product beside the register and said to his friend, “Chili flavored sunflower seeds. Now I’ve seen everything.” It has stuck with me since then. That was it. That was the top of the mountain. He had seen it all. But yet, my coastal Michigan friend, you had not. For just like the eternally prescient Bob Dylan once said, “oh the times they are a-changin’.” Change they did, as DiGiorno brought forth the croissant-crusted frozen pizza just this past year. It was a new frontier, but eventually the land Lewis and Clark explored just becomes a gas station. Innovation becomes blasé. So where do we go from here? The answer lies in our past.
Thanks to a television show, name recognition, and a fairly aggressive national roll out, you have assuredly heard of Wahlburgers restaurant. The name sake of the Wahlberg brothers, it has pushed it’s way into the fast casual landscape with it’s selections of burgers and chicken. It’s newest location is in St. Charles, Illinois. Coincidentally, myself and my brother were in the neighborhood, thanks to a Facebook marketplace related impulse buy by my brother. Jukebox in hand, we decided to the new Wahlburgers. And as you can tell by the title, it was a goddamn disaster.
Some things can be excused. For example: this location had been open for less than a week. We showed up at 11:20 AM, after they had been open for only twenty minutes. There were a lot of employees with a questionable amount of training. Covid.