Sunday, October 02, 2022

Eating on the road: Penny's Hot Chicken in Toronto

 As chronicled previously, Nashville Hot Chicken is all the rage these days. Very on trend. And when delivered in chicken sandwich form it ticks several boxes for me. So finding myself in Toronto over the lunching hour recently, some googling brought me to Penny's Hot Chicken near Yonge Dundas Square.

It's actually a few blocks North of Dundas, on Yonge, in kind of a mini food court with several other restaurants with minimal seating; an interesting concept to save on downtown rent and seems designed to cater more to the take-out office worker and Uber Eats crowd than dine-in customers.

Still, a friend and I found a table at the back and went to the counter to take our orders. They have tenders, platters and lots of different fry options, but I was in sammy-mode and ordered the Hot Mac sandwich, described as a medium-spiced thigh with lettuce, green onions, pickles (which I held), nacho cheese and comeback sauce on sliced bread. 

Sandwiches come with one side and one dipping sauce. Not being a fry guy, I opted to try the mac & cheese wedges and nacho cheese sauce. Other side options include fries, fried pickles, potato salad and coleslaw. But I figured with the lettuce and green onions I had veggies covered.


Everything was cooked (deep fried) fresh, and was ready in about 10 minutes. The sandwich was piping hot, which was great. A few variations from the menu description: it came on a brioche bun instead of two slices of bread -- I am more than fine with that. The described lettuce was also missing, leaving me short of my required serving of veggies or the day.

I would not order this side again -- the mac and cheese wedges were generic and bland. And I would go with a dipping sauce with some heat.

The sammy, though, was fantastic. The chicken thigh (the best chicken to use for sammies) was juicy and delicious, pounded down and generously breaded to be just huge. A big battered chicken tongue sticking out of the bun seems to be a signature for them. It was fun to tackle and offered a natural starting place to begin eating the sammy. Next time I'll up the heat, as a medium really did nothing. But it was delicious and filling and offers excellent lunch value at $13.90 before tax.

Either time your visit carefully though or be ready to carry out, as seating is very limited.

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