Fast Food Review: Grilled Chicken Sandwich from Sonic

There are two reasons why someone orders a grilled chicken sandwich. A) They’re pointlessly trying to defy better judgment and instead trying to follow the advice of some dumb health magazine that tells them it’s the “smart option” or B) They’re at Chick-fil-A.  I frequently fall into this latter category when choosing poultry sans oil and breading when eating fast food, and can proudly say that I can’t even remember the last time I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich at a Wendy’s or a Burger King.

That was until recently, when, attempting to offset a crapload of tater tots (read our review) at Sonic, I ponied up for the Grilled Chicken Sandwich. I quote the Utah State basketball game student section: “STUPID. STUPID. STUPID.” As usual, it was the propaganda machine which suckered me in.

100% all white meat grilled chicken breast topped with fresh lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise served on a wheat bun made with whole grain. *Wheat bun contains 10 grams of whole grain.

Where does one begin? The price, I suppose. For $3.99 for the sandwich alone, this had better be of premium quality. Judging by the limp, dead-looking iceberg lettuce, the single flavorless tomato, and the partially collapsed wheat bun, this didn’t seem apparent from the get-go. To Sonic’s credit, the breast itself looks more appetizing than many a grilled chicken product, and the bun – while unfortunately squished – had a subtle wheat and molasses sweetness that was good enough to eat on its own.

But I don’t pay 3.99 for a wheat bun (at least not just one bun, anyways, although I would gladly pay $3.99 and devour a package of Martin’s Whole Wheat potato hamburger buns). Putting my disassembled sandwich back together, I dug in.

It wasn’t God awful, and I have to admit I’ve had worse. Lets start with positives. It didn’t have any fake margarine style oil taste that some places cater to (it had that sheeny look), although it did have an off artificial “char-grill” flavor. Likewise, it was, or appeared to be, an entire breast and not some rearranged conglomeration of mechanically separated meat and hydrolyzed protein that I think my dining hall uses. But, unlike a moist, tangy Chick-fil-A breast, this meat was dry and lacked flavor penetration. It was also a little on the skimpy size, and dare I saw didn’t match the wheat bun. The flavorless lettuce and tomato added nothing, and only a heaping helping of BBQ sauce (which, by the way, is very good at Sonic) could save it.

Grilled chicken should not get the bad name it does. Why can’t every Grilled Chicken have a sturdy, not to dense but still airy wheat bun like Chick-fil-A, or a tangy, actually-marinated whole breast filet that’s both hearty in substance and nutrition? Is a whole slice of romaine really out of the question for $3.99? What, my God, if two bright and sweet tomatoes compliment said vinegar from marinating process? It’s a darn shame Sonic and most other fast food places can’t come close to Chick-fil-A on the grilled chicken question, because if it could, it would sure make me feel less guilty about ordering those two large side orders of tater tots.

Pros:

  • Pros: High protein, low fat option makes eating an insane amount of tater tots completely excusable. Whole grain bun has nice denseness and sweet, grainy flavor. Pairs well with BBQ sauce.

    Cons: Dry. Limp produce. Little seasoning and not very large. Four bucks I coulda spent on tots.

    Taste: 6.50/10
    Value: 5.50/10
    Grubbing on-the-go: 7.50/10
    Price: $3.99

    Overall GrubGrade: 6.25/10

    More Info: Sonic.com
    Nutrition Facts:
    Sonic Grilled Chicken Sandwich (no mayo)
    Calories: 274
    Total Fat: 5.1 g
    Saturated Fat: 0.6 g
    Trans Fat: 0 g
    Cholesterol: 71 mg
    Sodium: 899 mg
    Carbs: 32 g
    Fiber: 2 g
    Sugars: 8 g
    Protein: 27 g

  • 20 comments on “Fast Food Review: Grilled Chicken Sandwich from Sonic

    1. Raiders757 says:

      The produce looks like a pathetic version of what BK offers up, which is not goo at all to say the least. The chicken doesn’t look very appealing either, but I’ve never been one to order faux grilled chicken from fast food joints. If I want grilled chicken, I’m grilling it myself. Hell, even though I know it’s probably good at Chick-fil-A, the only place I would even considering ordering such an item, I could never bring my self to pass up their tasty fried chicken sandwich. That would just defeat the purpose of going to Chick-fil-A for me.

      For some reason I rarely ever go to Sonic, and when I do, it’s to get a greasy bacon egg and cheese sandwich. Recently I had a burger there, and it wasn’t all that great.

    2. J.B. says:

      That looks like crap and even worse than Burger King stuff.

    3. maxchain says:

      Martin’s? As in, the supermarket? I didn’t know you were a fellow Midwest captive!

    4. Tracy says:

      @maxchain we have Martin’s in Philly, NJ area also. I think it’s nationwide.

      This sandwich looks sad and I agree Chick-fil-a is much better. Unfortunately, there food is so high in sodium, which is why it tastes so good, that I am unable to eat it.

    5. Steve says:

      I never hit Sonic with any regularity. It never seems to be at the forefront of my fast food thinking. But I think I’ll stick with my Chick-fil-a. Nice review.

    6. skippymom says:

      “It wasn’t God awful” made me snort. Bwahahaha….knew this wasn’t going to be a winner, especially when the price was 4 bucks. Wow.

      The chicken breast was a nice size tho’ – sorry it wasn’t tasty.

      Go getcha’ some tots!

    7. Manavee says:

      We recently got a Sonic somewhat close to where I live. I’ve only been there a handful of times, but haven’t been particularly impressed with the overall quality of their food.

      In the Midwest (where I’m from), Culver’s is much better than Sonic in terms of slightly upgraded, higher quality fast food.

    8. Rachel says:

      “A) They’re pointlessly trying to defy better judgment and instead trying to follow the advice of some dumb health magazine that tells them it’s the “smart option” ”

      Wait, are they not actually healthier than burgers? I get them sometimes during the week instead of burgers even though I like burgers better. Am I being hoodwinked?

      • Shannon says:

        I’m glad that Rachel pointed this out. I didn’t really notice before. I, too, would like to know whetheror not a grilled chicken sandwich makes a healthier choice than a burger of comparable size. With the exception of higher sodium content, I assumed grilled chicken was a pretty safe bet. Also, I meant grilled chicken in my other comment instead of grill chicken.

    9. Shannon says:

      I’ve never tried the grill chicken at Sonic, but at $3.99 for an unremarkable eat I won’t go out of my way to get one. Thanks for the review.

    10. rob says:

      burgers are actually extemely healthy. as far as chicken goes, if it’s not deep fried I avoid it like the plague.

    11. Amy says:

      I’ve never liked the grilled chicken at Sonic (gave them two chances). I pretty much stick to their drinks and desserts there now. I agree, Chick-fil-A is the best, but the closest we can come here is Back Yard Burgers for good grilled chicken (and decent fast food burgers). One day I hope to live near a Chick-fil-A again!

    12. wibia says:

      I have never had anything at Sonic that I liked….$4.00 seems like a lot.

    13. mattitude says:

      I have found Sonic’s outside the south are just not very good,again,it was the Sonic you went to,not all in general,but still they do have great food!