By Robin Gibson
Boxcar Betty’s just announced the closure of their Summerville location. But lovers of the iconic fried chicken sandwich can still get their local fix at one of three remaining Lowcountry locations: Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, and, of course, West Ashley, the original where it all began.
Technically, though, it started in another part of town before the cool building and logo popped up on Savannah Highway. Owners Roth Scott and Ian MacBryde talk inspiration behind the brand synonomous with high-end fried chicken sandwiches crafted with locally sourced ingredients and environmentally-sound practices.
Here are five fast facts you may not know about the "purveyor of gourmet fried chicken sandwiches."
1. Boxcar Betty’s currently has four locations — one in Chicago, a 22-seat restaurant at 500 W. Madison St, and the three in the Lowcountry mentioned above.
2. The Chicago location was added in the summer of 2019. Scott and MacBryde were approached by Abbott Smith, a manager with Potbelly, the chain of 400 sandwich shops that grew out of the Windy City. Together, they felt Smith would make a strong partner and were excited to expand to a new market. In addition to the regular fare, this location serves breakfast biscuits, too, and focuses heavily on catering.
3. The decision to open Boxcar Betty's was born from what the duo determined to be a serious lack of quality fried chicken sandwich options in the fast casual space. They felt they could elevate that concept and provide a better class of fried chicken sandwich and southern sides.
4. The name was inspired by North Charleston's Park Circle, an area they had originally hoped to occupy surrounded by trains. That, and a love of alliteration gave birth to "Boxcar Betty's." The location didn't stick but the name did. "It was super catchy and awesome,” they said, to quote their own words.
5. Boxcar Betty’s is crossing the border — to North Carolina! A spring 2020 opening is planned for their next location in Charlotte's Optimist Hall.
Recently, they welcomed me to their Mount Pleasant location and affirmed and confirmed what I already knew. Theirs is, hands down, the best fried chicken sandwich around made from all-natural, cage-free and antibiotic-free chicken breasts. Of all the menu items I sampled, everything was delicious. And folks not fond of fried chicken can opt for grilled while the Pimiento cheese-stuffed, fried Portabello mushroom cap offers a solid alternative to chicken, altogether.
Forget the chicken sandwich wars. Boxcar Betty's is in a class by itself.