Gal pals in the South take their chicken salad seriously. I’m not talking about chicken on a salad. I’m talking about “chicken salad”, as in chicken salad that you can put on a salad, or on a sandwich and always includes just a smidge of mayo. Chicken salad sandwiches are almost always at any baby shower you’ll attend, at every picnic in the summer and on pretty much every lunch menu in the QC. But not all chicken salad is something to brag about. We want it with just the right ingredients and not too much mayo.
I’m addicted to chicken salad, I’ll admit it. I eat a chicken salad salad almost every day of the week. And I am very picky about my chicken salad. So I’ve compiled a list of my favorites in no particular order (and a few of Smarty Cheryl’s ’cause she’s a Charlotte native after all, also known as a unicorn:-). Feel free to chime in with your Smarty faves too!
1531 East Blvd
It all started as a food truck (which you can reserve for your next event). MayoBird has a base of chicken salad that has just the right ingredients… fresh chicken , Duke’s mayonnaise, celery chopped so fine you don’t actually know it’s there, salt/pepper and a secret ingredient that makes it just right. For me, that ingredient is the Real Dill – I love anything with dill in it. Their salad ingredients are so farm fresh and their balsamic dressing is incredible – making Mayobird my all-time favorite “chicken salad salad.” P.S. they have the BEST breakfast casserole in town.
Chicken Salad Chick:
3 Locations – Bank of America Plaza/Uptown, Carmel Commons Shopping Center & Kohl’s Shopping Center in Concord
We love what Chicken Salad Chick has to say about Chicken Salad:
Chicken Salad Chick’s Secret Recipe:
-A lotta chicken.
-Barely enough mayonnaise to mention.
-1/2 cup of everything your mama taught you in the kitchen.
-1 cup of love for the people you are serving.
– 1 A dash of Southern style.
They have a delicious selection of chicken salads that all starts with the original recipe and builds from there. Plym family favorite is Fancy Nancy, all dressed up with Fuji apples, seedless grapes and pecans.
Phil’s Deli chicken salad is just right and made fresh daily. This chicken salad is my favorite “plain” chicken salad. My kids gobble it up, they like their chicken salad simple: chicken, mayo, salt and pepper (but I bet there is some celery snuck in there too). Phil’s has been serving Charlotte for over 35 years – they are old school in just the right way. So old school that there is no website. So here’s the address: 4223 Providence Rd # 6, Charlotte, NC 28211.
NoDa/Carmel Commons/Uptown/Park Road
This is a fancier chicken salad that is absolutely delicious. Best served on a croissant to accompany the French vibes, this chicken salad has a dijon/mayo base that is absolutely divine.
De Sarno’s Italian Market is a new spot located down from Trader Joe’s in Piper Glen and has the best rosemary chicken salad (actually ALL of their food is outstanding, but we’re talking chicken salad today:-). Who knew the mystery ingredient of rosemary could be so amazing?! Rumor has it they may be changing herbs seasonally, so keep checking back in.
Rusty’s is a vintage icon in South Charlotte with simple and delicious food. Around before anything else, it defines old school. Chunky, not shredded. A Charlotte classic, best served on a pita with lettuce and tomato and perfect for a family picnic.
Locations all over Charlotte
Zoe’s is known for fresh and delicious Mediterranean food, their chicken salad is on point. Simple, just the right amount of mayo and a hint of celery. It’s perfect for any occasion, my kids love this in daily school lunches.
Montford/Central Avenue/Rock Hill
This chicken salad has a rotisserie chicken base that is so delish. Mystery ingredient: tarragon. Buy by the pound. Perfect for school lunches.
2921 Providence Road (across from St. Gabriel Catholic Church)
Light on mayo, perfectly plain. If you’re in carb loading for your kids with a dozen bagels, do yourself a favor and pick up a half a pound of the Poppy’s chicken salad. While you’re at it, grab some tuna salad too. You can thank us later.
Originally, I was going to omit grocery chains. But these two are so incredible, I changed my mind and had to include. The roasted chicken salad from the Fresh Market is simply made, yet super flavorful chicken salad. With a little crunch from the celery and the tender roasted chicken, it’s always a winner at our house. The Sonoma chicken salad from Whole Foods is also a winnner, winner, chicken dinner at our house! The tender chicken breast, crunchy pecans and sweet grapes in each bite are hard to top.