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Restaurant sparks controversy with 'stomach-churning' new menu item: 'This is so vile'

Katie Mather
·3-min read

Fried chicken sandwich drama is back and somehow weirder than before.

Chef Chris Bleidorn had been working on a takeout restaurant idea for a San Francisco spot that would serve fried chicken sandwiches, complete with the chicken claw.

According to CNN, which described the sandwich as "creepy," Bleidorn "loves poultry" to the point where he wanted Birdbox, the restaurant, to be making more of a statement about how people thoughtlessly consume meat.

"Our habit is we go to a store and buy a bag full of 24 chicken wings or 24 chicken drums. They could be in the frozen section or pre-packed in the deli, and we see people mindlessly toss them into their carts. Not thinking that 24 wings comes from 12 chickens," Bleidorn told CNN.

By including the claw, Bleidorn wanted the sandwich to be waste-free and drive the philosophy of using the whole animal when cooking. Plus, the sandwich looks so bizarre, he thought it would be a plus that it could be easily identified as a Birdbox sandwich.

"Head on, feet on is the most accurate indication of quality a consumer can reference. The chickens we use are organic, free-range and vegetarian-fed," Bleidorn said.

The chef also added that the fact that the feet are still attached is indicative of how well the chickens were raised — it means that they weren't cooped up in a claustrophobic pen. A positive thought to keep in mind when looking at the sandwich, that looks, as one Twitter person put it, "horrifying."

While Birdbox and Bleidorn were in the news last week for the launch, now a Toronto chef is accusing the idea of being stolen from him.

Nate Middleton posted his irritation on his Instagram Stories over the weekend, Toronto-based publication blogTO, reported.

"Hey Toronto, remember the @thehotb Handshake Sandwich? Well this dude @chrisbleidorn opened a spot based around the sandwich and is acting like he thought of it," blogTO said Middleton posted to his Instagram Story. "Give credit where credit is due."

Middleton then tagged Bleidorn in a photo he'd posted on Instagram in December 2016 of a fried chicken sandwich with a claw.

"@chrisbleidorn look familiar?" Middleton wrote.

"@natetasty no idea who you are and first time seeing this but glad others are thinking the same way! your sando look 🔥," Bleidorn replied. "read the article and you will learn the process behind our story. it certainly didn’t come from trolling instagram & looking up images posted from 2016."

"There have been ZERO fried chicken sandwiches with the foot attached until mine. Super proud of that. Your copy is the second I have seen Buddy," Middleton said in response.

As of now, Bleidorn insists it's a coincidence, and Middleton remains furious about Birdbox's coverage.

"I have never seen a fried chicken sandwich with the foot attached. That's why I did it," Middleton told blogTO. "I have never seen anyone try it after. So it was pretty obvious to me [Bleidorn copied the idea]."

Customers who have tried the Birdbox sandwich shared their own thoughts, too. Some called the sandwich “horrifying” or “stomach-churning,” while others seemed intrigued.

“That’s just nasty,” one Twitter user wrote.

“This is so vile.... I love it,” another added.

“I would pay good money to eat this sandwich right now,” another wrote.

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