Zaxby's chicken diner opened Monday on Main Street, bringing its southern charm to Norman for everyone to enjoy. Daily staffers Page Jones, Andrew Clark and Arlette Rojano tested Cane's and Zaxby's chicken, french fries and sauces to see which restaurant has the better of the three. Here are the results:
Page Jones, Editor-in-Chief
Chicken: This was a tough decision. I had to have eaten at least six strips trying to decide between the two. Zaxby's was thin and crisp, with a dark color and tasty breading. Cane's chicken strip was the complete opposite; much thicker and lighter than its Zaxby's counterpart. After a lot of soul searching and a decent stomach ache, the winner to me was Cane's. The Zaxby's strip was just too thin, and sometimes even too dry, for my liking. The Cane's strip is larger and therefore has a harder time drying out.
Fries: Zaxby's french fries are the clear winner to me. Their french fries were large, crisp and coated in seasoning. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, there was not even a fight between these french fries and Cane's sad, limp crinkle cuts.
Sauce: This contest, like earlier with the fries, is no contest at all. Upon first taste, Cane's sauce was immediately the better choice. While the Zaxby's sauce looks almost the same as Cane's sauce, the Zaxby's sauce is incredibly bitter and completely over powers the taste of chicken. The Cane's sauce, while very good on its own, does a great job of complimenting the chicken.
Andrew Clark, News and Life & Arts Editor
Chicken: I thought Zaxby's had the better chicken. Sometimes when I order Cane's chicken, it's very soggy and the breading falls apart. I liked Zaxby's more because it was crispier, but also not so crispy that the chicken was dry. The breading also had a tasty seasoning that wasn't overpowering.
Fries: Zaxby's french fries beat Cane's french fries as well. Cane's french fries are seasoned with what tastes like just salt, but Zaxby's french fries have a reddish seasoning to them, making them tastier than the salty Cane's french fries. Zaxby's french fries also were crispier on the outside, which for me is a big bonus. Like it's chicken, Cane's french fries can also get soggy and chewy. With Zaxby's, that didn't seem to be the case.
Sauce: Cane's. The two sauces appear almost identical, but Cane's sauce had much more flavor than the Zaxby's sauce. I would eat the Zaxby's chicken fingers with the Cane's sauce if that were a possibility.
Arlette Rojano, News Reporter
Chicken: I personally liked Zaxby’s chicken better. It was crunchy and although it was a bit drier than Cane’s chicken, it had more seasoning and flavor. The chicken was also darker, and because of this I found it more visually appealing than Cane’s. Some of the chicken fingers from Cane’s looked a bit undercooked or like they might need more time frying in my opinion.
Fries: I particularly enjoyed Cane’s french fries. Although Zaxby’s french fries had a homemade seasoning, I enjoy salty french fries, and Cane’s are definitely saltier.
Sauce: Cane’s sauce was also much better than Zaxby’s sauce. The sauces are close in flavor, but Cane’s sauce was smoother and tasted less like vinegar. On the other hand, Zaxby’s sauce was very strong and a bit sour.
Although Daily staffers were unanimously in favor of the Cane's sauce, the Zaxby's chicken and french fries received one more vote each than Cane's. Other notes about the newly opened Zaxby's:
- Zaxby's has a much larger menu than Cane's. While Cane's serves only chicken strips for entree choices, Zaxby's serves chicken wings and salads, as well. Zaxby's also has a better appetizer menu, which includes fried white cheddar cheese bites — which Daily staffers also tried and unanimously loved.
- Zaxby's also seemed to be the cheaper of the two restaurants, but only by a slim margin. A Zaxby's chicken finger plate costs $6.99 while a Box Combo from Cane's costs $7.29. Additionally, a large chicken finger plate costs $8.99 at Zaxby's, but a Caniac Combo from Cane's costs $10.99. Zaxby's wins the price battle of the two.