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This Award-Winning Chain With a Southern Menu Is Opening Multiple Locations

Their menu isn't fried, and the industry considers them a food safety winner.

If the current fast food craze sticks, it would be great for the country to have some healthier options. That's why the first phase of an aggressive expansion plan for a Southern-inspired fast-casual chain is clucky news for one part of the country.

Chicken Salad Chick is an Atlanta-based chain that first opened in Alabama in 2008. In the brand story the founder, Stacy Brown, states that she was out to perfect the recipe for a beloved Southern dish: Chicken salad.

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In 13 years, the chain has grown to a reported 180 restaurants across 17 U.S. states. It was also recently named one of the top 100 Movers & Shakers among franchise brands for excellence in food safety. According to QSR, Chicken Salad Chick is now expanding its Florida reach from 25 locations to five more in Fort Meyers and Naples by the end of this year.

Recently, the brand has made an aggressive push of franchising to go wider with their menu of sandwiches, soups, and 18 varieties of chicken salad "scoops," whose flavor range includes original mayo-only, lemon, classic Southern grape and pecan, and even Buffalo. QSR reports: "Looking ahead, the brand plans to have 50 new restaurant openings per year by 2022 to bolster its overarching goal of having 500 locations open and operating by the end of 2025."

A review of Chicken Salad Chick's menu suggests that not a single one of their dishes is fried (big ups, Chicken Salad Chick!), while a four-ounce scoop of chicken salad starts at 340 calories and stops before reaching 500. One caution: With all that mayo, the fat content is considerable. Chicken Salad Chick's nutrition page states that a scoop of Pam's Parmesan Caesar chicken salad has 39 grams of fat, which nears the low end of the dietary reference intake the Cleveland Clinic states an individual should eat per day.

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Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at Eat This, Not That!, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more about Krissy