A savory sandwich that’s long been a favorite of guests at a popular Jacksonville neighborhood restaurant laid the foundation for a new eatery that opened this week in Jacksonville Beach.
An all-natural chicken breast lightly breaded for a crispy crust has topped the menu at The Local since the restaurant opened nearly four years ago in the Miramar neighborhood of Jacksonville.
The popularity of the chicken sandwich grew as The Local’s co-founders and owners — Ted Stein and JC Demetree — opened the Neptune Beach location of the restaurant in 2019.
The chicken sandwich along with nuggets and tenders are front and center at Wonderbird — the new fast-food chicken restaurant opened Tuesday by Stein and Demetree in Jacksonville Beach.
Located at 528 Beach Blvd., Wonderbird focuses on natural farm-raised, steroid-free, and hormone-free chicken options. The restaurant also caters to vegan diets with chickenless sandwiches and tenders as menu staples.
Stein said at The Local, he and Demetree believed they had “a superior chicken sandwich.” The homemade breading and quality chicken really made a difference, he said.
“We saw a great opportunity to expand our offerings and give people more access to not only a quality chicken sandwich, but healthy, fresh salads that are quickly prepared with drive-thru convenience,” Stein said Tuesday.
Wonderbird’s menu, he said, “has something for everyone — delicious chicken sandwiches, grilled or fried, fresh salads and even vegan tender options.”
“In this new world we are living in, we wanted to be able to offer a new generation of fast food through what we call Fast, Craft, Food,” Stein said.
Restaurant Review: Come for the fried chicken and biscuits at Silkie’s
On the menu, guests can choose from seven fried, grilled or vegan meatless chicken sandwiches as well as grilled or fried chicken nuggets and tenders — all offered in regular or spicy options.
The fried chicken sandwiches are a flash-fried filet served on a classic potato bun with thick-cut dill pickles and topped with one of the restaurant’s 11 specialty sauces, according to the restaurant’s website.
Among the specialty sauces are WonderSauce, a blend of sweet, soy and citrus flavors; gluten-free Jax Sauce, reflecting the restaurant’s roots with smokey, sweet, mustard flavors; and vegan Soy-Lime Vinaigrette, which comes on the Chinese Chicken Salad.
The restaurant also features classic sauces including buffalo, cajun ranch, barbecue, ranch and gluten-free Bird Sauce, a traditional peppery chicken tender dipping sauce.
A variety of freshly made salads, sides and desserts, including brownies and blondies, round out Wonderbird’s menu.
Wonderbird is open 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Through Thursday, Wonderbird is offering a 50 percent discount to first responders and health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: First Wonderbird fast-food chicken restaurant takes flight in Jacksonville Beach