Coates’ fried chicken sandwiches are motherclucking good

The Old Bae Sandwich and the Hot Clucker Sandwich from Coates Fried Chicken and Burgers, a new restaurant in the Claremont Village. (Stephanie Du • The Student Life)

Standing in place of Grizzby’s Donuts in the Claremont Village is a new restaurant: Coates Fried Chicken and Burgers.

Run by the same owners of Grizzby’s, Coates serves fried chicken sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs. For vegetarians, they offer the Impossible Burger.

I have to admit, I wasn’t too excited by this new Village eatery. Don’t get me wrong — I love fried chicken — but I was a little disappointed to discover that my favorite donut place had closed down.

It turns out that owners Travis Flood and Matt Fong thought their business would do better if they sold burgers. So, they reconfigured their donut fryer into a chicken fryer and officially opened Coates Fried Chicken and Burgers in January.

The name “Coates” comes from the owners’ beloved bike shop in Pomona, Coates Cyclery, which closed in 2017. Evidence of their love of cycling can be seen throughout the restaurant. A large red banner with an image of a bicyclist and a cycling shirt hang above the shelves of cutlery. On the top shelf, a model of a bicycle stands next to a wooden sign of Coates Bicycles.

I sampled the Old Bae Sandwich and the Hot Clucker Sandwich. The OBS contained fried chicken, Old Bay seasoning, tomato, red onion, pickles, lettuce and Coates’ house sauce, also known as Ma’s sauce. The fried chicken was perfectly crispy and juicy, and the Ma’s sauce was creamy and garlicky. The pickles complemented the chicken well, but I wished there was more acidity to cut through the fattiness of the chicken.

Sandwiches are assembled at Coates Fried Chicken and Burgers. (Stephanie Du • The Student Life)

The HCS essentially had the same ingredients, but the chicken was smothered in Claremont Hot Sauce. Although I enjoyed the spicy kick and overall flavor, I was a little disappointed that the sauce diminished the chicken’s original crispiness.

The softness of the buns contrasted with the crispiness of the chicken, providing a welcome juxtaposition in texture. The juice from the fried chicken and the sauce also gave the buns a nice flavor. But I do wonder how would the sandwich be different if the buns were replaced by biscuits — a product that Grizzby’s Donuts sold before its closure.

The fries, which came in the combo, were delightfully seasoned and crispy. They was a little too salty for my taste, but the crunchiness made up for it.

As a dessert fiend, I had to try the salted chocolate chip cookie. The cookie was very chocolatey and chewy, which made for a delightful sweet finish. The salt crystals enhanced the flavor of the chocolate and balanced the distinct toffee notes of the cookie.

Although I miss Grizzby’s Donuts, my initial apprehension for Coates has turned into contentment. It is always extremely satisfying for me to bite into an ever so crunchy and juicy hunk of fried chicken.

Stephanie Du SC ’21 is a biology major. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, traveling and eating all kinds of foods.

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