Hello, hello and WELCOME to a very special milestone review. It’s wild that I’ve been able to hit this mark — 69 Basket Reviews. How I’ve been able to find that many different chicken tenders (mostly in Fargo-Moorhead) is beyond me. So kick back, relax and enjoy this nice criticism of deep-fried food.
I wanted to find somewhere new for this review; somewhere that had a chance to be special.
Through my Google searches of “Chicken tenders near me,” I found this place. And it wasn’t even close to me. It was more than five miles from my apartment in wayyyy south Fargo. BUT, their website intrigued me so much, I had to go check it out.
These people claimed to have the best chicken tenders on the planet. Not only that, but they doubled down, saying the potato wedges are not far behind.
This place claims to be not only on the same level, but a tier above Raising Cane’s, Popeyes, Texas Roadhouse, 46 North, Brew Bird — the titans of the industry.
Ha, we’ll see about that.
So, I headed in the direction of Champs Chicken, which from my research, appeared to share a parking lot with Don’s Car Wash on the corner of 52nd Avenue South and 25th Street. That’s a hike from downtown Fargo, but with a claim like that, I needed it.
I see the Don’s Car Wash and turn into the parking lot, expecting Champs to be on the other side of the building. Nothing. I look at the strip mall next to Don’s — nothing. So I pulled up to Don’s and parked, and noticed a tiny sign on the front of the building that read “Champs Chicken.”
I walked inside and headed to the back, where I spotted a deli counter. I stood there and waited for someone to come help me. After a couple minutes of loitering like a complete moron, this kind employee walks up to me and points to these plastic containers sitting under the heat lamp.
So let me get this straight.
You, Champs Chicken, claim to have the best chicken tenders ON THE PLANET, but you don’t even serve them to me fresh? I have to grab a plastic container of them from under a heat lamp? Are you serious? What kind of HOAX is this?
Despite the disappointment and utter shock, I had already made the trek out there. I might as well see what the product is about.
It was fine. The chicken was pretty good in the quality department, especially for being imprisoned in a plastic container under a heat lamp. The crisp and seasoning was there. I really couldn’t complain much about the taste. They were fine, but they weren’t great by a single measure. They tasted like the tenders you’d find at a grocery deli counter, such as Hornbacher’s.
The potato wedges need to take some big strides to be considered the best potato wedges on earth. Texture-wise, they were OK. Taste-wise, they were about the same; not gross, but not really that good. I could tell they had spent some quality time simmering under the heat lamp.
They had a wide selection of packaged sauces, of which I grabbed one each of ranch and chipotle ranch. Those were acceptable. I always enjoy the smoky, creamy flavor of a good chipotle sauce.
Overall, I’ll give this a 6.1. It was overall a fair meal. The tenders were better than the potatoes.
Champs claiming to have the world’s best chicken absolutely buried them. Had they not claimed such ridiculousness and set the bar so impossibly high, this review would’ve had a completely different angle.
I would have gone on about how this was almost a diamond in the rough — likely the best chicken strips you’ll find inside a gas station.
But instead here I am, telling you that Champs Chicken is not even close to the best chicken in the world. Not even close to the best chicken in Fargo.
It’s a sham. 6.1.
If you’re still here, thank you. I have bonus content for you for the second consecutive time. You are very welcome.
While I was sitting at my sad, small, round table in the back of the gas station, I spotted something on a shelf I had been looking for.
A podcast I listen to had run Chex Mix ad reads about this new type of Chex Mix called Chex Mix Max’d. It sounded delicious, like a unique and more flavorful spinoff of the original.
It sounded like it was exclusive to only a couple places, but sure enough, here it was sitting on the shelf of the Don’s Car Wash/gas station.
And I’m glad I spotted it, because this hot and spicy dill pickle Chex Mix was delicious. The flavors sang together in harmony and I might have to drive all the way back just to get another bag.
As far as Chex Mix goes, I’d say this is probably an 8.6. A good amount of heat, a nice punch of dill pickle flavor. Really good stuff. Thank you, Champs Chicken, for turning me off from you and on to Chex Mix Max’d.