Food & Drink

We got up close and personal with The Chickenator, star of the NC State Fair

In years past, the NC State Fair has brought us delicacies including hamburgers sandwiched between Krispy Kreme doughnuts. For this year’s fair, which ends Sunday in Raleigh, The Chickenator sandwich is all the rage.

“I don’t know if it’s dessert or the main dish ... it’s confused itself,” said Samantha Moore, a Chickenator customer at the Chef’s D’Lites booth.

As part of the vendor’s 20th anniversary at the State Fair, Chef’s D’Lites created its own take on a chicken sandwich: fried chicken, pepper jack cheese and bacon, held together in a cinnamon bun and drizzled with a honey Sriracha sauce.

“Drink water, you’ll be fine,” chef Felicia Daniel joked inside Chef’s D’Lites’ kitchen.

After four years developing the idea with her husband, Jason, Daniel estimates they sold more than 1,200 of the sandwiches in the week between the Oct. 17 fair opening and Thursday morning.

After selling out of The Chickenator on Wednesday night, Daniel’s hope for the sandwich stays the same: “all smiles, full bellies.”

“I want people to be happy, I want them to have a good experience,” Daniel said.

Some fairgoers were drawn to the The Chickenator after hearing about the novelty of it online and seeing some of their favorite ingredients incorporated. One customer, Jackson Moore, described his initial reaction to hearing about the sandwich as somewhere between horror and delight.

For those daring enough to try it, The Chickenator feels like a reminder of another Southern staple.

It has the chicken and waffles kind of character to it,” said Brian Moore.

“But maybe a little more decadent,” added his wife, Samantha.

The couple is among those who visit Chef’s D’Lites every year to check out the new foods they have to offer.

Chef’s D’Lites is located on the north side of the waterfall, near the Sam Rand Grandstand.

This 3D photo-realistic recreation shows the Chef's D'Lites sandwich, The Chickenator. The new fair food is a unique take on the classic chicken sandwich for the vendor's 20th anniversary at the North Carolina State Fair.
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