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Popeyes’ chicken sandwich is coming to Europe — really

The Popeyes chicken sandwich will be available starting Jan. 2021, in Army & Air Force Exchange Service food courts in Ansbach, Aviano, Baumholder, Grafenwoehr, Panzer Kaserne Boeblingen, Ramstein, Spangdahlem, Vilseck and Wiesbaden, an AAFES spokesman said.

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By DAVID EDGE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 11, 2021

WIESBADEN, Germany — Popeyes’ crispy chicken sandwich, which started a food fight when it was launched in the U.S. around 18 months ago, is finally expected to be available in Europe, a spokesman for base exchanges said.

The sandwich — made with crispy chicken topped with a pickle, slathered with mayo or Cajun sauce and served between a toasted brioche bun — will be available by the end of this month in Ansbach, Aviano, Baumholder, Grafenwoehr, at Panzer Kaserne in Boeblingen near Stuttgart, Ramstein and Spangdahlem air bases, Vilseck and Wiesbaden, Chris Ward, a spokesman for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, told Stars and Stripes by email.

“Those serving in OCONUS locations expect to have the same products and services available to them as those stateside, and the Exchange strives to satisfy those expectations,” he said.

The $3.99 sandwich had people crowing with delight when it was launched at Popeyes’ U.S. locations in August 2019.

“Fans praised the crispiness. They liked the thick pickles. And they used social media to roast rivals for what they deemed inferior chicken sandwiches,” said an article published in The Wall Street Journal two weeks after the launch.

But around the time that article came out, Popeyes suspended sales of the sandwich at U.S. locations and delayed the launch at overseas bases, saying it had run out of the ingredients used in the sandwich.

It was back on the market in October 2019 — but not at overseas locations.

Now, that is set to change, said Ward.

“The Army & Air Force Exchange Service and its vendor partners are in the unique position to provide a taste of home” to service members overseas, he said.

The announcement that the sandwich would be coming to Europe coincided with an apparent new chicken sandwich war, the Restaurant Business website said last week.

KFC this month announced it was taking its new crispy chicken sandwich nationwide after months of testing in Florida.

McDonald’s and Shake Shack said they were adding crispy chicken sandwiches to their menus, and chains including Carl’s Jr., Chick-fil-A, Church’s, Jack in the Box, Wendy’s and Zaxby’s have rolled out new crispy chicken sandwiches, or upgraded existing offerings, in recent months, Restaurant Business said.

But members of the military in Europe continued to wait for the chick to hatch, and wondered if the sandwich would be worth the months of build-up.

“After all the hype that has surrounded this sandwich, I really hope it’s good,” Staff Sgt. Marcus Wheeler, a Popeyes regular, said last week in the Wiesbaden food court.

edge.david@stripes.com
Twitter: @DavidEd96798393