What was the Crunchies called at Long John Silver’s?

Long John Silver’s, the popular fast food seafood restaurant chain, had a crispy chicken item on their menu in the 1990s and early 2000s called Crunchies. Crunchies were bites of breaded white chicken meat deep fried to a golden brown crispy perfection. They were a popular menu item during their time at Long John Silver’s restaurants across the United States.

The History of Crunchies at Long John Silver’s

Long John Silver’s first introduced Crunchies to their menu in the 1990s as a new chicken offering to complement their fish dishes. Crunchies were made from 100% white chicken breast meat coated in a crunchy breading and deep fried. They were served in orders of 3, 6, or 12 pieces and were a convenient finger food option for Long John Silver’s customers looking for something other than fish.

Crunchies were marketed as a tasty new way to enjoy crispy chicken at Long John Silver’s. Advertisements highlighted the crunchiness of the breading and the juicy white chicken meat inside. Crunchies were seen as Long John Silver’s answer to similar chicken menu items at other quick service restaurants. Their launch expanded the menu choices at Long John Silver’s.

For about a decade, Crunchies were popular sellers at Long John Silver’s. Customers enjoyed the crispy breading and flavorful chicken. Crunchies provided a non-seafood option for diners and were often ordered as a side to Long John Silver’s fish dishes. Several dipping sauces were made available with Crunchies to enhance the flavor.

The Decline and Disappearance of Crunchies

In the early 2000s, Long John Silver’s started phasing Crunchies out from their menus. The reason for removing Crunchies was a shift towards branding Long John Silver’s first and foremost as a seafood restaurant. Having chicken on the menu diluted this brand identity.

Long John Silver’s began introducing new seafood dishes to replace Crunchies instead of non-seafood options. The new menu was designed to reinforce that Long John Silver’s specialized in quality seafood. Chicken items like Crunchies didn’t align with that renewed brand focus.

By the mid-2000s, Crunchies had disappeared from Long John Silver’s locations nationwide. The item was removed to streamline the menu and concentrate on what Long John Silver’s was most known for – fish and seafood choices. While Crunchies had been popular, seafood was determined to be more core to the Long John Silver’s identity.

For customers who enjoyed Crunchies, the loss of the menu item left a void of a good chicken option at Long John Silver’s. However some of the dipping sauces served with Crunchies continued to be available to pair with Long John Silver’s fish items.

The Return of Crispy Chicken to the Menu

It would take close to 15 years, but crispy chicken made its return to the Long John Silver’s menu in 2019. The new chicken item was launched as Chicken Tenders, made with all white meat chicken just like Crunchies. While not branded the same, Chicken Tenders were Long John Silver’s answer to fulfilling customer demand for a crispy chicken option once again.

Chicken Tenders were rolled out system-wide in 2019 to positive customer response. They are coated in a crunchy breading similar to Crunchies and can be paired with various dipping sauces. Chicken Tenders have given customers who remember Crunchies something close to that crispy chicken experience again.

Long John Silver’s markets Chicken Tenders as a lighter chicken option for health-conscious diners. While they fulfill the crispy chicken niche, they are positioned as a better-for-you menu choice. Portion sizes are smaller than Crunchies were as well.

The return of chicken to the Long John Silver’s menu through Chicken Tenders found the right balance of providing a popular non-seafood option while staying true to Long John Silver’s focus on quality seafood. Chicken Tenders pay homage to the former Crunchies by replicating the crunchiness and flavor people loved.

Why Customers Loved Crunchies

There are several reasons why Crunchies connected with so many Long John Silver’s customers during their time on the menu:

  • Crispy, crunchy breading – The coating on Crunchies was perfectly crispy and added great texture.
  • White chicken meat – Crunchies used only moist, juicy white breast meat.
  • Hand-held finger food – Crunchies were easy to eat by hand on the go.
  • Dipping sauces – Dipping sauces enhanced the Crunchies flavor experience.
  • Kid-friendly option – Crunchies made a fun meal for kids who didn’t want fish.
  • Alternative to fish – Crunchies satisfied customers wanting chicken versus seafood.
  • Guilt-free indulgence – Crunchies were seen as a more permissible splurge.

For many Long John Silver’s fans at the time, Crunchies became synonymous with the restaurant. They were a popular choice across demographics from kids to adults. The disappearance of Crunchies left a noticeable gap on the menu. Chicken Tenders have filled that gap again, but Crunchies still remain nostalgic for those who loved them.

Crunchies Compared to Other Fried Chicken Offerings

How did Crunchies stack up to fried chicken items served at other quick service restaurant chains while they were on menus?

McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets

Chicken McNuggets are smaller pieces of all white meat chicken seasoned in McDonald’s signature batter. Crunchies were similarly all white meat but served in larger tenders versus nugget size. The breading on Crunchies also differed from McNuggets – it was described as ultra crunchy compared to McNuggets’ crispy coating.

Burger King Chicken Tenders

Burger King Chicken Tenders are strips of white meat chicken coated in a breadcrumb batter and deep fried. BK Tenders are another premium chicken tender comparable to what Long John Silver’s Crunchies offered. The size of Crunchies was slightly larger than standard BK Tenders based on old menu descriptions.

KFC Chicken Tenders

KFC Chicken Tenders consist of whole muscle chicken breast fillets covered in the Colonel’s signature crispy breading. Crunchies were similarly all white chicken meat in a crunchy breadcrumb coating. Crunchies came in tenders form versus whole fillets but were quite similar to KFC’s tenders overall.

Chick-fil-A Chicken Strips

Chick-fil-A’s Chicken Strips entrée features breaded and pressure cooked sliced chicken breast meat. While also white chicken meat, the cooking method differs from the deep fried Crunchies. However, in terms of flavor and texture, Crunchies would have been comparable to Chick-fil-A strips.

In summary, Long John Silver’s Crunchies were extremely similar in composition and preparation to the premium chicken tenders served at leading fast food chains. The all white meat cut, crunchy breading, and frying were consistent across restaurants. Crunchies stood right alongside the top chicken tenders.

The Perfect Dip for Crunchies

Crunchies were commonly paired with dipping sauces to enhance the flavor. Long John Silver’s offered several dip choices to accompany Crunchies orders. Here are some of the most popular Crunchies dipping sauces:

Honey Mustard Sauce

Honey mustard was a popular dip for Crunchies. The sweet honey balanced against the tang of mustard perfectly complemented the juicy chicken. Honey mustard added flavor without overpowering the chicken’s crunch.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Sweet and sour sauce was another favorite pairing for Crunchies. The bright, fruity flavor highlighted the white chicken meat. Sweet and sour’s iconic sticky texture also adhered well to the crunchy breading.

Ranch Sauce

Cool and creamy ranch was a familiar friend to Crunchies. Ranch added a touch of herby flavor to the chicken. It also cut some of the oiliness for a lighter feel.

BBQ Sauce

For heartier flavor, BBQ sauce made an ideal match for Crunchies. The smoky sweet and tangy BBQ accentuated the chicken’s qualities. BBQ sauce was a popular dip for those who wanted to spice up their Crunchies.

While everyone has their personal sauce preference, all of Long John Silver’s dip choices paired wonderfully with Crunchies’ flavors and textures. The sauces added even more to love about enjoying this popular chicken menu item.

Crunchies Nutrition Information

As a fried, quick service chicken item, Crunchies were not the most healthy menu choice in terms of nutrition. However, for the indulgent style of food, they weren’t outrageous in fat and calorie content either. Here is some approximate nutrition information for Crunchies:

Crunchies Nutrition Facts 3 Pieces 6 Pieces
Calories 330 660
Total Fat 14g 28g
Saturated Fat 3g 6g
Trans Fat 0g 0g
Cholesterol 45mg 90mg
Sodium 830mg 1660mg
Carbohydrates 30g 60g
Fiber 0g 0g
Sugar 0g 0g
Protein 14g 28g

For a fried chicken item, Crunchies weren’t too egregious health-wise, especially if enjoyed in moderation. The all white meat chicken provided a good protein amount. While not a health food, Crunchies nutrition could fit into an overall balanced diet.

The Legacy of Crunchies

While Long John Silver’s Crunchies disappeared from menus years ago, they still hold nostalgic memories for many past customers. Crunchies made their mark as a popular chicken menu item in their own right during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Offering Crunchies was a smart move by Long John Silver’s at the time to cater to consumer demand for chicken offerings alongside seafood. The item succeeded in giving customers a flavorful fried chicken choice. Even with their eventual removal, Crunchies earned their place in Long John Silver’s history.

The return of chicken to the menu through Chicken Tenders suggests Long John Silver’s recognizes the continuing customer interest in chicken. Crunchies may be gone, but they paved the way for a new generation of chicken tenders at Long John Silver’s today.

The Verdict on Long John Silver’s Crunchies

In summary, Crunchies were a beloved signature menu item during their 1990s and early 2000s heyday. While no longer served, Crunchies deliver nostalgia for those who enjoyed their crunchy, chicken-y goodness back in the day. They may not have been the most health-conscious choice, but Crunchies satisfied a craving for crispy breaded chicken. For lots of Long John Silver’s fans, Crunchies will always hold a special place in memory as a tasty treat.

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