I have been hearing about Atlas Monroe vegan fried chicken for months now. When I was a kid I seriously loved all kinds of chicken, especially fried chicken — so I was super excited when I learned about Atlas Monroe taking the vegan fried chicken game to the next level. In the 17 years I’ve been vegan, companies constantly develop the mock “beef” products but they never seem to develop the “chicken” products, which have remained virtually the same breaded soy protein all this time. Hopefully those days are behind us now thanks to Atlas Monroe!
Finally, this past Memorial Day Weekend they had a popup shop in San Diego so I was able to take the 20 minute drive from where I live to their little shop in a nondescript area of Chula Vista neighborhood where a few people were gathered. Me and my fiance got our food and drove to the oceanfront to have a nice view while we ate it in the car. Here’s our review.
Atlas Monroe Vegan Fried Chicken Review
Okay overall this chicken is sooo tasty and way more substantial and satiating than any other vegan fried chicken I’ve had. There are a few things to note, though, so let me break it down into specifics:
I missed that crispy breading on fried chicken so much and the outside of this vegan chicken was incredibly crispy and flavorful. The breading was every bit as indulgent (and more!) as fried chicken I remember from my childhood. Irresistibly yummy. It also adhered perfectly to the chicken part, no idea how they pulled that off since vegan breading is hard to do. It was great.
When you get past the breading to the “chicken” part again it’s a really nice consistency and flavor. There are a lot of yummy spices in it that give it a burst of flavor that other vegan chickens simply don’t have (I think there was even possibly a tiny touch of curry powder?). The texture is more juicy and dynamic than other vegan meats. When you pull it apart it looks and behaves more like a piece of chicken. Definitely spongier than meat, but it is a nice departure from the generic texturized soy chicken that is literally always the same — wayy more substantial and satisfying.
The one issue is that because the vegan “meat” is kind of spongy, it sopped up a lot more oil than other products would in the deep frying process at the pop-up shop. The oil saturates not only to the breading on the outside, but the meat on the inside too. I maximally enjoyed while eating, but for hours afterward me and my fiance couldn’t move. This may be a normal feeling in general with fried chicken that maybe I don’t remember, but my body was crying for water and handfuls fresh spinach after. For this reason, I would definitely prefer baking or air frying when I purchase the chicken from their website. If it was baked or air fried it literally would have been perfect.
At the pop-up shop I really liked the toasted bun and the fresh lettuce and tomato. The sauces were also good, tho I couldn’t quite distinguish what they were. I think there was a garlic sauce on it, which was too strong for my fiance. For me it was fine. However, the meat is actually so flavorful that I would really put a more neutral sauce, like vegan mayo or ketchup, so I can fully enjoy the flavor of the chicken without any interference from a flavorful sauce. On the side would be better I think. I also got the fries and they were really good. Again, kind of too fried for me but what do I expect from french fries?
Filling!!! Even just the sandwich on its own was definitely a full meal. The fries were super extra I personally did not need them — a spring salad would have been a better compliment to it actually. Vegan burgers or chicken sandwiches are almost never filling enough on their own. However, this sandwich was big!! and filling!! You will definitely be getting enough food. Even my fiance who is always still hungry couldn’t take another bite by the end. A+ for giving enough food. I appreciate that since it’s true that vegan places often really don’t give enough, especially for what they charge. This was enough.
When you think fried chicken or chicken sandwich, it’s really more of a fast food or budget food item typically. So it is kind of against my logic to spend $21 per person on vegan fried chicken sandwich combo. The sandwich was $17 then it was $2 extra for the fries and $2 for a standard bottle of water — plus tax and tip. However, this is all very specific to the pop-up location I went to. I know they sell their product on their website and have their chicken available at other locations, which may have different prices. In my opinion, although it was a great amount of food, $14 for the whole combo would have been a more fair price. As a vegan, I feel I shouldn’t have to pay $20 to have some fried chicken. But I know it’s a pop-up so maybe that factors in to the cost. Anyway, I wouldn’t consider it a very accessible price point.
All in all I would say Atlas Monroe’s vegan fried chicken is extremely good. I would definitely be careful to not deep fry, but otherwise it makes for a phenomenal sandwich. It is extremely satisfying in a way that no other vegan chicken is. Fried chicken lovers will absolutely love this product. However, I would love to see it at a more accessible price point. I probably won’t go to the pop-up again, but I would definitely buy from their website and prep myself one day if it becomes available. I hope to see this on the shelves in grocery stores everywhere. I’m excited to see what’s coming up in the future for Atlas Monroe — grateful that they’re stepping up to the plate and innovating vegan chicken products.
About Atlas Monroe
Atlas Monroe is a vegan food company that specializes in vegan fried chicken. They have been featured on Shark Tank, and have won the prize for Best Fried Chicken by Extra Crispy at the annual Fried Chicken Festival. Products are sold on their website, though they are often sold out. They also sell at different restaurants, pop-up shops and fairs, which you can learn about on their Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.