The Habit Burger Grill Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich Review: A Delicious New Habit To Get Into

The Habit Burger Grill may feature burgers in its name, but that doesn't mean this restaurant chain can't hang with fast food chicken slingers, as the chain's new Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich proves. To be fair, the untold truth about The Habit is that 40% of the items on the menu include fish, chicken, tenderloin, and even veggie patty sandwiches. Even the salads and sides reach beyond the regular with unexpected selections like tempura green beans and sweet potato fries. With such delicious diversity coming from the kitchen, a twist on the company's Crispy Chicken Sandwich is a lateral move that adds new flavor to the flock without flying the coop entirely.

Though the non-burger options reside under the Signature Sandwiches heading, you'll also find this new limited edition offering in the Seasonal Feature menu. For this and other obvious reasons, it isn't likely that this temporary creation will be around long enough to make an appearance on a list of The Habit's most popular grill items. And with no end date listed, there's no telling when the newest chicken in the coop might get plucked from the lineup at this restaurant, which has locations mostly in states along the West and East coasts. We thought it best to get while the getting is good and give this intriguing morsel a try.

The ingredients may seem sort of familiar

Pile a chicken breast that's been battered and fried on a flax seed brioche bun, top it with white American cheese, coleslaw, pickles, and a proprietary red pepper sauce, and you have the makings of a ... chicken sandwich. With upgrades. There's nothing terribly groundbreaking about the elements, other than the spicy spread, which is a pepper sauce and mayo condiment that website We Want the Sauce calls Boom sauce. It's a clever move to add the spice to the spread rather than the chicken itself, since this creation takes advantage of a sandwich already in active rotation.

Visually, using white American cheese gives the impression of a more bougie deli-style sandwich, which isn't a bad thing. If you're going to distinguish your novelty chicken sandwich from the rest of the pack, visual cues are key. The flaxseed brioche bun also lends an air of gourmet quality. And while coleslaw is as down to earth a salad as you'll find, adding it as a topping instead of lettuce is an inspired touch. These elements give the Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich its own sweet acre to stand in without getting lost in the clucking crowd.

The price is pretty steep for a chicken sandwich, even at The Habit

Though you won't have to dip into your 401(K) to take the Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich for a test flight, it is a bit pricey for a single selection. At $9.99, the cost is in line with the other specialty options currently in circulation at The Habit. The regular Crispy Chicken Sandwich is $8.69, which is hardly enough of a difference to count. But compared to the burger meals that start at $11.69 and come with fries and a drink, it's tempting to dismiss the stand-alone Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich as too precious to indulge in.

The news doesn't get better when comparing the new bite to single burgers on the menu. Purchased solo, the other char-grill options start at $5.59 for a single charburger with cheese. In fact, none of the burgers comes in anywhere near double-digits when purchased outside of a combo. This may be something of a stumbling block for diners keeping close tabs on their discretionary funds. The one concession that might move the dial is that this sandwich is surprisingly large. Cut in half, it can easily serve two diners. Suddenly, it becomes a bargain.

It's a savory summer sensation ... for now

The heat of summer summoned the fiery spirit of the Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich, which made its debut on June 28. It's a fun tie-in to fried chicken that will surely be a staple in the many backyard barbecues cropping up everywhere as the dog days roll on, though the "summer is hot, and so is this sauce" idea is a heavy-handed marketing point. With temperatures soaring ever higher, a cool sandwich seems like a more appealing possibility. For fans of hot food, hot weather, and creative chicken sandwiches, love knows no season. We'll trust that The Habit knows its audience.

Because the emphasis appears to be on capturing the California summer vibe in the flavors and textures, this bold bite may be on its way out the door by season's end. If you're tempted by the description and you can stand a little more heat, The Habit will be able to accommodate your cravings while supplies last, our favorite way of saying, "Don't let the grass grow under your feet."

This sandwich is a sidestep from The Habit's other fare

Burgers are The Habit's stock in trade, all chargrilled using fresh ingredients that are never frozen, according to the company's policy. In addition to a grilled chicken sandwich on the Signature Sandwich menu, the chain introduced its Crispy Chicken Sandwich in January 2023 as a salvo in the chicken sandwich wars, a battle in which Chick-fil-A and McDonald's have been actively entrenched. Both of those outlets are known for fast food that inspires fervid devotion from their fans. The Habit seems to be eager to get its piece of the market share with a roll-out of these deviations from its usual fare.

The most notable thing about both the Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich and its tamer counterpart is that these are the first fried sandwiches to appear in The Habit collection. Other non-burger items include ahi tuna, a chicken club, and a tenderloin steak sandwich, but nothing is battered and fried like these two selections are. The push for freshness seems at odds with the inclusion of two deep-fried dishes as a forward-thinking move. For The Habit, keeping up with the rest of the chicken chasers requires compromises that result in notable changes to its core menu.

Nutrition facts are a bit sketch

The Habit doesn't seem to have updated its nutritional information to give a breakdown of the micronutrients in its newest invention, though the menu does list the sandwich as having 970 calories. The information from the Crispy Chicken Sandwich provides insight, though at 590 calories, the gap between the two is considerable. The 23 grams of fat and 29 grams of protein aren't out of line for a fried chicken filet on bread with mayonnaise. The cheese and Boom sauce on the spicy version are bound to add to those nutrients, though by how much is a guessing game.

Even knowing the true breakdown, diners should understand what they're getting when they read what the sandwich includes. The chicken breast offers a fair amount of protein, but it's also battered and fried, served with a mayo-based spread and a slice of cheese. The flaxseed brioche bun is the one obvious attempt at nutrition. As Mayo Clinic explains, flaxseed is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and is also believed to have a positive effect on blood cholesterol levels. That's nothing to shake a tailfeather at, but does it counteract fried chicken? Probably not.

The Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich is our new favorite Habit

In the spectrum of fast food chicken sandwiches, anything fresh and spicy is bound to cause a stir. In this instance, the hoopla is justified. Comparing The Habit's chicken creation to either Chick-fil-A or McDonald's means underestimating the creative ways a fried chicken sandwich can be interpreted. This version is juicier and more tender than its competitors. It also has softer bread and a cool, creamy coleslaw zing to soften the gentle burn from the spicy sauce, the most delightful surprise in the whole enterprise. It's smooth and peppery and stands its ground, bringing the other components together in a culinary conversation where everyone contributes equally. Having so much of this tasty treat to enjoy was a bonus. Summer heat be darned; if you're a chicken sandwich connoisseur, digging into this one will be a feather in your cap.

Due to its limited edition status, the Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich may not be destined to become the best chicken sandwich in the U.S., but it's a welcome addition to the other entrants in The Habit Burger Grill Signature Sandwiches lineup, however long it lasts. Our advice? Get in on the deal before this chicken sandwich takes wing.